Students of MG College, Thiruvananthapuram, ensure their campus stays green, through its Nature Club and Bhoomitra Sena Club. Nature Clubs are a common feature of colleges in Kerala. Bhoomitra Sena club was formed by the Department of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Kerala and gets government grants. The clubs take up special planting drives on World Environment Day, Gandhi Jayanthi and Ozone Day. Apart from club members, volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) pitch in for the programmes.
“We set aside the last period of class every Wednesday as ‘Club Hours’ for classes on environment awareness. For our planting drives, trees are chosen carefully; we try to include fruit-bearing ones too. We also collect saplings from the Social Forestry department. Students are enthusiastic about joining the clubs and are involved in all its activities,” says KG Ajitkumar, head of the Botany department and faculty-in-charge of the Nature Club who is also the district coordinator for National Green Corps and has been carrying out training programmes on nature conservation since 2004. The Nature Club has 40 members and the Bhoomitra Sena Club has 30 .
The clubs maintain the saplings and campaign against irresponsible disposal of plastic. Mentioning one among various initiatives, the professor says, “Our students are told to bring lunch in tiffin boxes and avoid packing papers. Cleaning drives are also organised by both clubs, along with the green initiatives.”