Best Practices

Best Practice I


Title of the Practice

Give a Hand – To Lead, To Lift

Objectives

Channelling the right attitude towards education is a requisite for attaining self- sufficiency and a quality lifestyle. With a majority of students hailing from economically strained backgrounds, the institution resolutely strives to lay a solid foundation to nurture their young mind and actualize their aspirations. It is at the heart of Camel College to,

  • Foster academic growth among economically backward students
  • Augment the educational aspirations of the poor and the middle class
  • Inspire the financially challenged to become self-reliant

The Context

Carmel, a college for women run by the Sisters of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, has the explicit vision and mission to empower young women with knowledge and inculcate in them the spirit of selfless love and compassion. Situated in a remote rural locale, with a majority living far below the poverty line, advocating the prospects of higher education has often posed a considerable challenge. The majority of the students are first- generation learners who come from the lower stratum of society and face financial difficulties, oftentimes struggling to complete the course. In this context, the Management has decided to give a hand to those students who aspire to attain education and become self- reliant. Born out of this loving intent is the programme “Give a Hand- To Lead, To Lift.”

The Practice

The college gives both financial aid and emotional support to students coming from economically weak backgrounds to reach out to the horizons of excellence. They are given financial assistance in the form of fee concessions, scholarships and free field trips and study tours besides supplying books, uniforms and meals for free. The institution has also instituted cash awards to economically backward students for their meritorious achievements. To execute the same, the institution has devised a strategy, beginning with inviting applications from students. The principal verifies the details of the application with the aid of the Heads of the Department, taking into consideration the overall performance of the student and the genuineness of the need. The visit of faculty members of each department to the homes of their students, generally on Fridays, and the meaningful interactions with their parents and family members provides an opportunity to understand their circumstances and extend seemly guidance. This is indeed beneficial in identifying the deserving student and those selected students are rewarded with incentives to assist them to come out in flying colours. The awards instituted by former faculty members, alumnae and well-wishers are given in the Annual College Day celebration to the needy students with good academic profile to pursue further studies. Substantial financial help is also provided to the deserving, meritorious and regular students from the Students Aid Fund.

In addition, the college takes all effort to inform and sanction the monetary schemes for deserving students from the Management and government. The Chavara Euphrasia Scholarship and the Carmel Bright Scholarship instituted by the Management opens the door for the academic high achievers from low-income families. The college pays attention to notify these students about various scholarships accorded by the State and Central governments without fail. Details regarding the scholarships are displayed on the college notice board and specified in the College Handbook.

The loving embrace through the Faculty at home programme has proved valuable for developing a cordial relationship between teachers and students. Students who hail from strained family backgrounds and encounter personal crises are identified by teachers and supported through mentoring and counselling sessions. A family counselling centre with a full-time professional counsellor functions in the college to help students get through distressing times.Financial exigencies are an everyday reality for the families of several students, with some living in deplorable conditions and poor dwelling. In the light of the situation, the Abhayam scheme has been utilized by the NSS unit of the college to initiate house construction for the neediest identified from among students. Departments also take initiative in raising funds to meet the medical expense of the ailing family member of students.

TThe deluge of 2018 opened the dams of compassion among the Carmel fraternity. In the light of havoc wreaked by the flood upon families, both teachers and students spent nearly one month extending their helping hands and emotional support through house visits, cleaning flood-ravaged dwellings and providing monetary and material aid.

Evidence of Success

The practice of giving a hand to lead and lift have over the years yielded encouraging results, with students learning to refine their perception towards life and possibilities rather than remain demotivated by circumstances. The most palpable evidence of success from this initiative has been the university ranks attained by the beneficiaries. Many of the students who benefited from this project have been able to pursue higher studies and secure better job opportunities. The [email protected] initiative has opened doors for both teachers and students to warm up to each other and invest in mutual trust. The genuine purport of this initiative has been appreciated by the families of students as is evident from the wholeheartedness with which they accommodate the teachers into their home. The assistance, in cash and kind, rendered by the institution to the families, particularly following the outbreak of flood, has been a source of immense support to ease into rehabilitation.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

With the increase in the number of needy students and limited funds, we have been forced to shortlist them. Another hurdle has been the delay in the timely disbursement of government scholarships.

Best Practice II


Title of the Practice

Stay Green – In Embrace of Mother Nature

Objectives

To live in a time of mounting environmental concerns, espousing an eco-sensitive perception and sustainable lifestyle is of paramount importance. With this pivotal intent, Carmel College advocates the practice of conserving nature for today and the future ahead. Through this noble gesture, the institution aims to,

  • Disseminate awareness about the sustainable environment and create an eco-conscious team to work towards actualizing the same
  • Nurture an eco-friendly culture through the implementation of green initiatives in and out of campus
  • Evolve measures for conserving the environment through study and research

The Context

Natural disasters of great magnitude have become a common sight over the recent years, with many lives having to bear the wrath of an untamable nature. Unquestionably, the inconsiderate intrusion of humans upon nature’s bounty has manifested into natural calamities and untold environmental crisis like pollution, ozone depletion, the decline of biodiversity, climate change, soil erosion, deforestation and the like. The disastrous deluge of 2018 took a tremendous toll on Kerala and Thrissur district in general and Mala, in particular, has been severely affected.As a college situated in this ecologically fragile zone, we strongly believe in the inevitability of moulding an ecologically conscious society. Given the growing importance of conserving nature and effecting sustainable development, numerous initiatives have been undertaken by the institution to implement within the campus and the community outside its borders.

The Practice

Environment Education

  • A total of 43 core, complementary, elective and open courses in the prescribed curriculum deals with various aspects of environment
  • Audit Course on Environmental Studies and Disaster Management
  • Certificate course on solid waste management
  • Constitution of clubs- BhoomithraSena, Nature Club, ENCON Club
  • Nature camps to Athirapilly forest area, Abhayaranyam, Mangalavanam, Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary to expose students to the wonders of nature – Department of Zoology
  • As part of observing Environment Day, Ozone Day and Wetland Day, the Department of Botany annually organizes sponsored programmes like invited talks, seminars, exhibition and intercollegiate competitions
  • Identification of 11 new plant species by Dr Sr. Sinjumol Thomas of the Research Department of Botany
  • Minor projects and PhD thesis of faculty and student projects that addresses matters on the environment, biodiversity, waste management etc.
  • Departments conduct national and state seminar/webinar on environment- related topics and encourage active deliberation on sensible eco-friendly practices
  • Inter-department and inter-collegiate competitions organized by departments in connection with day celebrations

Waste Management measures:

Solid waste management:

  • Bio compost and vermicompost units
  • 2 biogas plants (installed in the college hostel and staff quarters) to generate cooking gas and liquid fertilizer of high nutrient content
  • Incinerators and Waste Burning Plant for non-plastic solid waste disposal and sanitary napkins
  • Tie up with Fiat Mission, Thrissur, for used paper recycling
  • Reduction of paper use by practicing cashless transaction and digitalizing documentation
  • Separate waste disposal bins at various locations on the campus

Liquid waste management:

  • Proper drainage facility
  • Water recycling unit (60,000L/day) to ensure proper collection and purification of waste water for reuse

E-waste management:

  • Timely maintenance
  • Certain parts are reused and remaining are sold out to local traders for safe disposal

Energy Conservation Measures:

  • Properly maintained wells (4), bore well (2) water tanks (11), large ponds (2), sump (1)
  • Rain Water Harvesting unit (25,000 L/day) to store water for extensive use in the Chemistry lab
  • Recharging of land and water bodies in the campus
  • Surface mulching to conserve soil moisture
  • Solar panels to meet power requirements
  • Use of solar water heaters
  • Production, use, expo and sale of LED bulbs/tubes/stars under the aegis of the Department of Physics
  • ENCON Club observes Oil and Gas Conservation Mass Awareness Campaign – SAKSHAM

Environment vitalizing practices:

  • Preservation of wetland (11.3 Cent) maintaining its flora and fauna
  • Green Audit by NGGF evokes alertness towards environment conservation
  • Rice cultivation in the campus paddy field and banana cultivation by the department of Vocational Studies (Agriculture)
  • Quail farming and Aquaculture by the Department of Zoology
  • Botanical Garden, Herbal Medicinal Garden, Carmel Orchidarium, RET Garden, Fruit Garden, Vegetable Garden maintained by the Department of Botany
  • Onapoovukrishi– Department of Botany
  • A team of administrative and support staff for the beautification/landscaping of the campus
  • Green Guardians (student volunteers) work towards the creation of a campus biodiversity register
  • Restricted entry of vehicles within the campus

Plastic Free Initiatives:

  • Observance of ‘Carmel Green Protocol’ in the use of products and services
  • Use of steel glasses to reduce the use of plastic - contributed by Alumnae Association
  • NSS and ASAP Students are given training in making paper pens, cloth bags, and other eco-friendly products
  • Entrepreneurship Skillset Programme by the department of English in collaboration with Kadalasupena, a social welfare organization to train students in making paper pens and paper files. The use of the same has been promoted in the national seminar organized by the Department of English in 2019.

Extension Activities:

  • Workshop on mushroom cultivation, organic farming, and vegetable gardening conducted as part of KSCSTE funded project
  • Orientation on medicinal plants - its use and preparation in collaboration with Kandamkulathy Vaidyasala, Kuzhur
  • Water Analysis carried out in the flood-affected area of Kuzhur Panchayat
  • Awareness Class on plastic waste disposal and the making of eco-friendly products in nearby schools
  • Cleanliness drive in collaboration with KILA – Department of Sociology

Green Measures by NSS and NCC

  • Awareness class on waste management and nature talks in adopted villages
  • Tree plantation, distribution of seedlings, tapioca cultivation, mushroom cultivation and vegetable gardening in adopted villages
  • Cleanliness drive in and out of campus and participation in ‘CLEAN MALA’ Project under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan/Swachhata Pakhwada
  • Tree planting drive under HARITHA KERALAM
  • Involvement in plastic-free and other environment-themed campaigns
  • Making of eco-friendly/energy-saving products like cloth bags, paper pen/pencils, LED bulbs, tubes and stars etc.

Evidence of Success

Carmel College lies in the embrace of a green canopy and this idyllic locale serves in energizing the ambience of the campus. A majority of the green practices in the institution have the student community in lead, executing them in and out of campus. Students are the active contributors and facilitators of the campus’s green mission like cleanliness drive, tree plantation drive, and environment preservation campaigns/drives and rallies, often organized in collaboration with authorized GOs and NGOs, as part of the extension/outreach programmes by departments, NSS and NCC units. Each student partakes in maintaining the campus litter free and clean. The awareness programmes and national/state seminars organized have an impact on staff and students in reinforcing a comprehensive knowledge about nature and proactive practices. The number of faculty and student research on environment-related themes also add to the knowledge repository.

The use of alternate sources of energy like solar panels, LED bulbs and tubes and employment of water-conserving measures have effectively reduced energy consumption and water wastage over years. With the use of various waste management measures, the institution has been able to effectively implement the 3 principles -reduce, recycle, and reuse – to eliminate waste and contribute to preserving the environment.

Nature camps organized by the Department of Zoology have introduced students to the bounty of nature. The creation of the biodiversity register by the Green Guardians, as part of the green audit, have acquainted them with the rich flora and fauna in the campus. These activities have been beneficial in sensitizing the students towards conserving nature, its resources and biodiversity. The green audit has been a productive venture in evaluating the effectiveness of measures and programmes implemented by the institution towards waste management, environmental quality and energy conservation. Expert reviews and suggestions for improvement have been taken into confidence and steps initiated.

The various departmental green practices including quail farming, aquaculture, rice cultivation, banana cultivation, apiculture, and maintenance of botanical garden have students at the helm, supervised by a faculty, and these have been instrumental in raising their eco- consciousness. Making and using paper pens have become a common eco-friendly practice among staff and students. Knowledge on the same have been disseminated to nearby schools as part of the campaign to reduce the use of plastic and have earned positive results. The extension activities conducted by the Department of Botany as part of the KSCSET funded projects on sustainable livelihood have profited the local women and student community in raising farming plots in their homesteads for mushroom cultivation and vegetable gardening. Training, production and sale of LED products as an energy-saving measure by the Department of Physics have also yielded visible acceptance among the campus and neighbourhood community. The water analysis carried out in the flood-affected area of Kuzhur Panchayat by the Department of Chemistry has assisted the local body to adopt requisite measures for restoring the water quality. Adherence to the green protocol of the campus is a routine practice in which all stakeholders of the institution are well-groomed.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

  • Delay faced in the stage-wise administrative sanction for solar installation in the campus
  • Financial constraints due to lack of funds in setting up the water recycling unit
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