GUWAHATI, Sept 1 - In view of the growing threat posed by climate change and global warming, Assam Don Bosco University has embarked on an outcome-based approach for linking education with sustainable development and bringing about change and social transformation, impacting communities and environment. It seeks to achieve the same by partnering with communities, government, industries and NGOs.
“The university has endeavoured to create a design thinking approach in its educative processes to inculcate in students the critical skills of empathy, collaboration, persisting through failure and being comfortable with ambiguity. The university currently leads the initiative in SDG 7 of Clean and Affordable Energy as nominated by the International Association of Universities and has participated in a global forum of universities addressing sustainable development goals at UNESCO headquarters in Paris earlier this year,” Dr Stephen Mavely, Vice Chancellor, Don Bosco University Assam, told The Assam Tribune.
The university is one among the 15 universities from around the world being featured in a BBC Dreamworks documentary on universities and higher education, making a tangible impact on raising living standards of people around their campuses.
As part of its initiatives towards the generation of clean and affordable energy, the university has installed 320-KW grid-connected solar photovoltaic power systems by using the free rooftop spaces which are estimated to reduce the energy cost incurred by the university by 16-20 per cent at an average every month.
“Water reservoirs have been created utilising the natural streams coursing through the campus and the installation of a facility for generating micro hydel power up to 10 KW is under way. The university intends to lead the way in substantially increasing the share of renewable energy in the requirement of total energy mix and is engaged in research of other renewable sources of energy such as ‘Optimization of DC Microgrid for Renewable Energy Integration’, a DC Microgrid applicable in remote areas for optimizing the use of energy sources such as wind and solar and ‘Design of Horizontal Axis Micro Wind Turbine for Low Wind Speed Areas’ such as the north-eastern part of India to produce electricity for limited power needs in domestic consumption requiring a very low cost for installation and maintenance,” Dr Mavely said.
The university programmes of ‘Swabhalamban’ and ‘Swastyayan’ provide skill training for unemployed youths and educational support and life skills training for children in the villages nearby the campus, respectively. These have been acknowledged by the International Association of Universities as a best practice in a survey among 120 educational institutions worldwide in ‘Sustainable Development Goal 10 of Reduced Inequalities’, he added.
In another innovation that prioritises socially relevant research, the Centre of Excellence in Nanotechnology at the varsity has developed low-cost solar-powered water purifiers. The water purifier utilising green technology for filtration and purification of ground and surface water with nanomaterials has been installed in 12 villages for enabling access to safe drinking water.