Distinctive Feature: Dissemination of a Sustainable Life Style

As early as in the 1990s the think-tank of the college began discussing the implications of the fast-paced degradation of the natural environment and it felt that the academies had a role in sensitising the younger generation on the need to conserve nature through individual and collective action. Accordingly, in its 2005 review of the Vision and Mission statement, the college added to its mission the task of cultivating among the students “a concern for the environment.” Subsequently, the college drafted an Environment Policy (the first of its kind in Kerala) focussing on creating awareness about conservation and the propagation the philosophy “reduce, reuse and recycle”. 

In its Environment Policy the college commits itself to the protection of life on the planet (a reiteration of the Green Spirituality of the CMI); reduction of waste in life; thoughtful use of earth’s resources; use of renewable energy, protection and promotion of biodiversity, and entrepreneurial efforts which can provide alternatives to the energy-intensive, resource-consuming technologies.

Over the past decade, the college has made systematic efforts to engage the students with its environment policy through programmes and projects that would inspire them to review their own lifestyle and environmental habits and inspiring others to care for nature through curricular as well as co-curricular means.

Department of Environmental Studies: The Department of Environmental Studies was started in the college in 2016 as a response to the growing need for experts in the field of Environmental Science. Besides offering a Master’s programme the department initiated in 2017-18, a mandatory add-on course in Environmental Studies for all UG students. Apart from the curriculum-based dissemination of environmental awareness, the college has also formed a set of fora for carrying the mission forward.

Solar Powered: The College is a pioneer in the field of nonconventional energy generation in this part of the country. Mithradham, the non-conventional research centre located in Aluva is an offshoot of this initiative by the college. The college has set up wind and solar energy generation units for its own power needs. In 2005, the college installed two on-grid solar-units with 33kw capacity with an output of approximately 140 units per day. In 2019, the college installed a 130 Kw solar power unit making the college one of the first in Kerala to go 100% solar.

Nature Club of the college with its 100 plus members organises various environment sensitisation programmes. One of the significant projects undertaken by the Club is the conservation of the mangroves in the neighbourhood, which was facing extinction in the late 1990s. The intervention of the Club helped not only the revival of the mangrove forest in the area but it also evoked public interest in conserving the mangroves. Moreover, the club has acted as the main arms of the extension activities of the college.

Bhoomitrasena (friends of the earth): works in tandem with the Nature Club. It focuses on reducing the impact of human activities on the environment. The activities include imparting training in sustainable waste management for households, public and private health, periodical cleaning drives, especially, of public places.

Biodiversity Centre: In order to sensitise the students to the significance of biodiversity the college established a centre in a nearby village, Arayankavu. Being a biological hotspot with a large variety of birds and butterflies, the centre has become the cynosure of the enthusiasts of ornithology, trekking and plant taxonomists.

Agri-club: Kerala is heavily dependent on other states for good grains despite the fact that large swathes of arable land are lying fallow. Taking cognizance of the need to revive farming, the college has taken the lead through its Agri-club to evoke interest among the students in farming and agri-business. For this purpose, the college has established an extension centre with 4-acre land attached to its biodiversity centre at Arayankavu Thottara Puncha.

Impact of the Programme

Student Orientation: With the help of the manifold sensitisation programmes the college has virtually turned the campus free of single-use plastic, disposable paper cups and plates. The club encourages the staff and students to use public transport and bicycle.

College Community: The initiatives in generating renewable energy has significantly reduced the monthly energy cost of the college besides reducing the environmental impact of power plants.

Community Orientation: The activities Bhoomitrasena and Nature club have also drawn a great deal of public attention. It has encouraged the local communities to come in support the efforts of the students through mobilising material and monetary support. The organic farming methods adopted by the college team has had a significant impact on the local communities. After a long interval, the local farmers have started cultivation and revived a good part of the fallow land.

National Mission: The activities under this programme address the National Mission such as Swatch Bharat, National Solar Mission, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, and the National Mission for Green India. Sacred Heart College was one of the first to take a decisive step in the dissemination of the values of environment protection by introducing a compulsory course in Environmental studies. The Hon’ble Supreme Court’s direction to incorporate a core course on environmental awareness is a vindication of the initiative taken by the college.

UN Sustainable Development Goals: An important aspect of these manifold activities is that they are in tune with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN, especially with respect to goals such as affordable clean energy, clean water and sanitation, good health and wellbeing, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action and life on land.

Awards and Recognitions

For its leadership in creating awareness about environment among the youth, the College has won several accolades including:

Paristhiti Mitra-2016 by CEERD, St. Stephen’s College, Uzhavoor

Best Campus award-2016 by Agri-Horticultural Society 

Best College Award-2018 by Kerala Bio-diversity board (Rs.50000); 

Biodiversity Award

The Principal is the chairman of Organic Kerala; an expert on Social Impact Assessment of development projects of Ernakulam, and Swachch Campus of UGC.