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Beach Clean-Up activity at  Girgaum Chowpatty by the Millennium Fellows ( Students for Sustainability) , JDSOLA, NMIMS, Mumbai

It takes no more than a second to discard an empty packet or water bottle at the beach. To bring that beach back to some semblance of cleanliness, however, requires weeks of planning and coordination. On Monday, 20 September, the Millennium Fellows of NMIMS University, 'Students For Sustainable Living', organised a beach clean-up in collaboration with Change Is Us – a youth-led organisation that seeks to create environmental change. Around 45 student volunteers from the Jyoti Dalal School of Liberal Arts participated in the initiative, along with several others from Change Is Us. 

In a miraculous and welcome break from tradition, it did not rain on the day after the Visarjan. The student volunteers worked tirelessly, sorting through washed-up remains of Ganpati idols and digging discarded plastic bags out from under several layers of sand. It was a team effort that required every member to be on board, either wading through water to pick up the waste or carrying buckets heaped with trash back and forth.

It goes without saying that the cohort had great concerns about organizing an event of this nature during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With Ganpati Visarjans just wrapped up and Diwali around the corner, our worries were amplified. However, all volunteers were particular about keeping their masks on despite the heat of the day. Change Is Us provided everyone present with gloves, which were disposed off safely.

To receive this magnitude of support from JDSoLA students is something that we, as amateur (but aspiring) change-makers, had never dreamed of. It validated our project and restored our faith in the fact that students, despite busy schedules, are eager to effect significant change.

Finally, we had the unwavering support of our faculty – Dr. Brijesh Tripathi, Dr. Mohita Junnarkar, and Prakash Patel Sir and other faculty and staff– without whom, this initiative would have felt incomplete. Dr. Brijesh and Prakash sir offered sanitizers to the students post the clean-up.

Young students are often discouraged from believing that they can make a real difference. But what we saw that day was an example of youth-led change at its brightest and most inspiring. The Millennium Fellowship cohort is extremely grateful to have had the support of the students and faculty of JDSOLA. Thank you for helping us drive meaningful change!

(Authored by Neeharika Nene, Senior Undergraduate Student, JDSoLA & Millennium Fellow 2021)


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