Motivating and providing career guidance to school students have earned kudos for Rotaractors of RAC CEG (RID 3232) at the Anna University campus. In its 20th edition, Project Vizhithiru (be vigilant) is the flagship event of this club at the College of Engineering, Guindy, and over the last two decades, “we have reached out to 10,000-plus students across government schools in and around Chennai,” says P Gopinath, club secretary.
With a tagline ‘… to achieve your dreams,’ the Rotaractors engaged the students in project and expo phases with a segmented approach to groom them for future challenges. “In the project phase, two batches of 20 members each visited two government schools to perform science experiments and demos to students. The aim is to invoke creative thinking and related skills among them so that the quest for learning is kindled in them,” explains Gopinath. The experiments covered subjects like Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology and they were also demonstrated by Rotaractors. Around 100 students were trained in project experiments by Rotaractors. In the next expo phase, 500 students from four government schools visited the Vivekananda Auditorium at the college campus for a day full of packed events — career guidance, motivation sessions and exhibition by students. “After getting the nod from the government officials, we arranged travel for all the students to our campus, provided lunch and snacks, and visited their stalls where they briefed us on the science models they had exhibited,” he says.
Earlier, the career guidance was done at the schools by a team of Rotaractors, “but in the last few editions of Vizhithiru, we are holding it on our college campus where the students also have an opportunity to showcase their science talent.”
Project Sangarsh with a tagline ‘transforming lives’ is a ‘music concert for a cause. “This year, we will hold the fundraiser event in April and our permanent venue is Music Academy where around 2,000 people attend the musical. Some of the popular playback singers render memorable and hit songs. The proceeds from ticket sales will be spent on projects for beneficiaries like transgenders and tribals,” explains Gopinath, a 4th year student of BE, Manufacturing. However, due to Covid they could not hold the concert in the last two years and “in the last edition, we used the proceeds to build a toilet block at a children’s home in Tirunelveli. We identify the beneficiaries across Tamil Nadu and come up with a concrete plan to reach out to them.” On Christmas-eve, the Rotaractors distributed toys and gift hampers to 30 children of migrant families living in a settlement near the college campus. A Christmas cake was cut and distributed to them.
Sponsored by RC Madras South, this Rotaract club has branched off from RAC Anna University, formed around 40 years ago, but not in existence now and has given birth to three other clubs to represent different engineering colleges on the vast campus. With around 100 members, “we get financial support and mentorship from our parent Rotary. If we approach them with a project plan, the Rotarians readily agree to provide resources and help us to find sponsorship,” says S Suja, club president.