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Project Beyond – Unique competition for schools in Shimla to encourage student-led social initiatives

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SHIMLA- What are the critical issues that urban youth of Himachal Pradesh is facing in today’s modernized world: delinquent behaviour, substance abuse, academic stress, and depression due to growing competition that often leads to suicidal attempts or suicides. The fact that substance abuse among Himachal’s youngsters has reached an alarming level isn’t a secret. The age of exploration for such subjects has dropped for school students. Himachal’s urban environment isn’t difference and children are taking a hit due it. Another loss that children face today is of sensitivity to moral and ethical values. The virtues of compassion and empathy hardly find any place in the academic race.

Keeping in mind all these issues, स्वAWAAZ, a Delhi based organisation, has initiated a unique competition for schools in and around Shimla. The initiative called Project Beyond is taken in association with Rotary Club Shimla Midtown. This is an inter-school competition to encourage social responsibility and community engagement in students. The participating school teams will include students of sixth to tenth standard. The teams will be required to plan and implement a social project on the competition theme ‘Kindness Matters’.

About 200 schools including both private and government schools in Shimla and Solan districts have been invited to participate in Project Beyond. The last date of registration is May 12, 2017. Schools have been provided with detailed guidelines and rules of the competition. Schools have about 45-50 days starting from May 1 till June 20 to plan and implement a social initiative on ‘Kindness Matters’, the theme of the competition.

A submission form along with supporting evidence in the form of either a write-up with photographs, a powerpoint presentation or a short video has to be submitted by schools till June 20. The best social initiatives will be awarded, the award ceremony for which will be held in July, 2017.

The organization and Rotary team are offering continuous support during the entire duration of the competition. Schools will soon have an online portal through which the teams will be able to regularly communicate and interact with the participating schools.

स्वAWAAZ believes that the focus in schools should shift from mere academics and marks-oriented learning to holistic development of students that will help in curbing these pressing issues.

As per the founders of the organization, the Project Beyond was evolved with the aim to enable a culture in schools and community that creates more thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, change-makers who are responsible and perceptible individuals. The goal of Project Beyond is to create a thoughtful society by fulfilling key objectives like cultivating an environment of kindness, gratitude, empathy and respect, spreading social awareness through student-led social initiatives and enabling schools, teachers and students to be agents of change.

Recently, स्वAWAAZin association with Rotary Club Shimla Midtown, organised a seminar for school principals and teachers on ‘Impact of Innovative and Reflective Practices in Schools’. This was held on April 5, 2017 at Rotary Town Hall, The Mall, Shimla. Sh. Ghanshyam Chand (H.A.S.), State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, Himachal Pradesh, was the Chief Guest. Over 45 delegates comprising school principals and senior teachers from several schools in and around Shimla attended the seminar.

The main purpose of the seminar was to orient schools about the need and impact of adopting innovative and reflective practices for holistic development of students. ‘Project Beyond’ was also introduced at the seminar.

Project-Beyond---seminar-pics

स्वAWAAZ, founded by experienced professionals, who works with varied types of schools across India. Their work involves school enrichment programs, teacher training and development, student workshops, child safety in schools, youth and community engagement programs.

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Watch: IIT Mandi Researchers Use ‘Pollutant Diesel Emissions’ For Water Treatment

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IIT mandi uses diesel soot sponge for water treatment

Mandi- Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Mandi have used the soot emitted by diesel engines to mop up oil and other organic pollutants from water. Their work has been recently published in the journal – Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Although diesel engines are known to be superior to other internal combustion engines in terms of lower fuel consumption and better energy release efficiencies, they are associated with significant amounts of particulate emissions.

 The particulates largely comprise soot, which is formed in the fuel rich regions of the burning diesel jets. Increasing environmental concerns and stringent emission standards require the development of both conventional and unconventional means for reducing soot.

 Studies in this area have focused on improving the engine design and incorporating special filters and treatment units at the exhaust end of the vehicle.

Dr. Rahul Vaish, Associate Professor, School of Engineering at IIT Mandi and his research students Vishvendra Pratap Singh and Moolchand Sharma have looked at this problem from a different perspective.

They rationalized that while it is impossible to bring down soot emissions to zero, it is possible to find a use for the soot produced.

 Carbon species such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, and candle soot have shown their potential in many fields,

says Dr. Vaish,

so why not automobile soot?

It is known that carbon species can absorb various organic pollutants in water. Carbon nanotubes, filter paper, mesh films, and graphene have been used for removing oil from water. Given that the typical carbon content of soot is between 90 and 98%, the team explored the possibility of using this pollutant as an adsorbent of oil and organic contaminants in water.

 There is a rapid increase in oil and chemical leakages from oil tankers or ships and industrial accidents with expansion in oil production and transportation in the last few decades,

the authors write in their recently published paper, justifying the need for new materials to mop up oil and prevent catastrophic environmental outcomes.

 In an earlier study, Dr. Vaish used candle soot to successfully remove two cationic dyes, rhodamine B and methylene blue from water, thereby showing the possibility of organic from water thereby showing the possibility of organic chemical removal by soot. Extending this earlier work, the research team incorporated diesel exhaust soot into polymer sponges to study their capability to adsorb oil and other organic materials from water. This hydrophobic sponge showed high absorption capacity for various oils, without the need for complex pretreatments.

The researchers found that the highest oil absorption capacity was 39 g/g for engine oil. An interesting observation was that the sponges were recyclable and retained 95% efficiency even after 10 cycles.

The diesel soot impregnated sponge could also absorb pollutants like methylene blue, ciprofloxacin, and detergent from the water. This has practical implications.

Apart from oil spills, organic pollutants such as traces of dyes and detergent coming from industries and households are a major contributor to water pollution,

says Dr. Vaish.

The soot impregnated sponge can help in developing cost-effective remediation processes for common domestic and industrial pollutants. Such a development would additionally serve to repurpose automobile waste.

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Campus Watch

Last date for Admissions to UHF Diploma extended

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Nauni University Admissions Date for Diploma

Solan: The Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni has extended the last date to apply for its one-year Diploma in Fruit and Vegetable Processing and BakeryDiploma in Fruit and Vegetable Processing and Bakery products, informed the Public Relation Officer, Suchet Attri.

The last date to apply for the diploma run by the Department of Food Science and Technology of the university has now been extended to January 29. Earlier the last date for application was January 17. The counselling for the diploma programme will now be held on January 31.

The PRO also informed that this year, the university has also reduced the fee charged for the diploma to Rs 5000. Earlier, the fee for this diploma was Rs 20,000. The decision was taken to ensure that more and more people can apply for the programme, he said.

The minimum educational qualification for this diploma programme is Class 10+2 with at least 40 per cent with no age cap for admission. A total of 35 seats are available in the programme. Prospectus and application form can be downloaded from the university website (www.yspuniversity.ac.in)

The PRO further informed that the programme has also been linked to the Skill Development Allowance scheme of the Government of Himachal Pradesh. Any person enrolled in the programme can also apply for this allowance.

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Two JRF among HP Varsity’s 11 disabled students who cracked UGC NET 2018

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Disabled HPU Students Clears UGC NET

Shimla-Crossing milestones in academics, disabled students of Himachal Pradesh continue to achieve what is otherwise considered insurmountable for them.

Eleven differently-abled students have cleared UGC’s National Eligibility Test (NET). Two of them qualified for the Junior Research Fellowship. Five of these students are visually impaired.

It’s important to mention that disabled students had to fight a legal battle to claim their right to higher education in Himachal Pradesh University. Even after ‘The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill – 2016’ was passed, the students had to fight for its implementation as the government did not make it easy for them.

Two students who qualified for the JRF include Saveen Janha, an M.Phil in Hindi, and Pankaj Sharma, P.hD in Tourism Administration. Both are physically disabled, informed Ajai Shrivastava, a member of the State Advisory Board on Disability and HPU Executive Council (EC).

Indu Kumari, a visually impaired student, who is pursuing her M.A. in Political Science, cleared the NET examination in her very first attempt. Similarly, visually impaired Roma Negi, a resident of Rampur, has cleared the exam in History in her first attempt. She wants to pursue her P.hD from HP University.

Other names include Anuj Kumar (Economics), Vinod Sharma (Political Science), Jasbir Lubanand (Political Science), Vinod Sharma Yogacharya (Yoga), Priyanka Thakur (Law), Ajay Kumar (History). Some of these students have cleared the NET examination twice. Raj Kumar is a Ph.D in Education and has cleared the NET exam in the same. He had also passed the NET examination in History and this time cleared the exam in Political Science.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikander Kumar has congratulated all these students and appreciated their hard-work despite facing hardships due to their disability. He said these students have brought laurels to the State.

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