Noteworthy Initiatives and Contributions of St. Joseph's College
to a Sustainable Future
(I) Concerns for the Rural Poor and Poverty Alleviation Initiatives
a) About 5000 students spend 80 hours during their graduation and post-graduation programmes, interacting with nearly 60 rural communities in Tamil Nadu, India. The effort focuses on “conscientising” them by providing small but significant services -- coaching children for better learning in schools, building awareness about human rights, and tree planting are among the many community building activities.
b) Changed admission policy two decades ago to provide easy access to rural youth to higher education. As a result, the College has reached out to many students from very remote rural areas and offered them quality university education. Because of this, the student composition has been changing over the years with such students joining a variety graduate, post-graduate and Ph.D. programmes.
(c) Coming from remote rural areas and hailing from economically poor families, hundreds of students are forced to skip their breakfast and lunch, which has direct impact on their academic performance. Recognising this serious matter and ensuring the continued academic participation of such students, the College has been operating a scheme since 1999 by which it gives a free lunch for nearly 300 beneficiaries.
d) Since 1998, Rupees 1.5 million is distributed to over 500 poor students as fee and other academic concessions.
(II) Eco-Initiatives and Awards
a) Revitalising Traditional System of Medicine
The College has dedicated 3.0 acres of its farmland for setting up of a herbal farm in order to revitalize the traditional system of medicine.
b) National Environmental Awareness Campaign
This one-month eco-campaign is conducted every year among the rural folks, school and college students during the last 24 years. This initiative is directly supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
c) Green Kalam Project Award, 2013
The college received the award for planting 35,000 seedlings in 16 villages and 30 schools in 2012.The students’ achievement of planting the 35000 trees won them the award, called `Green Kalam’ award, from the former President of India and the alumnus of the college, Dr.APJ.Abdul Kalam. The award was received in 2013.
d) Hiyoshi Environmental Award, 2008
Mr. Ashoka Chakravarthy, Asst. Professor in Environmental Science was chosen for the Hiyoshi Environmental Award – 2008 by the Tamil Nadu Centre of ABK AOTS Dosokai and Hiyoshi Corporation, Japan.
(This is an Annual Award for Outstanding contribution in doing fundamental research for Environmental Conservation and Protection. This award is given to one person and comprises of a memento, cash prize of Rs.15, 000 and a citation.)
e) Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar Award, 2002
This award (in the individual category) was given by the Government of India to Dr. K.M Matthew (1930 – 2004) posthumously, though it was announced in 2002. Then a faculty member in the Department of Botany, he was the Founder-Director of the Rapinat Herbarium (from 1972 – 2004), a research centre which documents the flora in the Western Ghats of India. Dr. Matthew, an eminent plant taxonomist and conservationist, is also associated with launching an ambitious environment education initiative through the Anglade Institute of Natural History that he founded in 1984.
(This national prize on environment is named after the former Prime Minister of India, late Shrimati Indira Gandhi and known as ‘Indira GandhiParyavaranPuraskar’.The prize is given each year on any environment related occasion for significant contributions in the field of environment, which are recognized as having measurable impact on the protection/overall improvement of the environment. The Ministry of Environment and Forests gave the award at a function held in New Delhi to mark the `International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer'.)
f) Tamil Nadu Scientist Award (TANSA) for Environmental Sciences, 2002
This award was given to Rev. Dr. Dr. S. John Britto SJ, the present Director of Rapinat Herbarium, St.Joseph’s College for the environmental conservation.
(This award is given by the Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology (TNSCST), Chennai, India.)