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Indian Jesuit university celebrates World Environment Day with villagers

Jesuit Father Felix Raj, Vice-Chancellor of St. Xavier's University and Vatsal Chirimar, secretary of the Alumni Association encourage children who draw the environmental picture on June 3, 2022. (Photo supplied)

The World Environment Day was celebrated on the St. Xavier's University Kolkata (SXUK) campus on June 3 by its alumni association from India.

Over 500 saplings were distributed to faculty members and six surrounding villages adopted by the university, which is based in the West Bengal state of eastern India. 

Jesuit Father John Felix Raj, vice-chancellor of St. Xavier's University and President of its Alumni Association, told RVA News, “We celebrated the day of the environment to create awareness among teachers and students, and to emphasize how important the environment is for personal, family, institutional and social life.”

He called for a green and clean campus at the university and in the community, and 75 children were brought from all around the area to initiate a clean environment in the villages. 

Each student received a sapling that can be planted on their campus to promote its greening. 

Everyone in the program swears an oath to make the campus plastic-free. 

“We are all responsible for our common home and we are grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to this noble cause in our humble capacity,” Vassal Chirimar, secretary of the SXUK Alumni Association, told RVA News. 

The initiative was made possible because of the participation of young friends from neighbouring villages.

In the presence of all staff members and representatives of the six adjoining villages adopted by the university, Father Felix Raj handed saplings to them.

In a ceremony led by the Hony and Chirimar, secretary of the Alumni Association, all stakeholders of the university took an environmental pledge.

"To collaborate in caring for our common home" is one of the Universal Apostolic Preferences for 2019-2029, framed by the Jesuits.

On the theme of "Caring for our Common Home," they organized a “sit & draw competition” with children from Kalthelberia, Kulberia, Boenta, Hathishaka, Jeerangancha, and Dharamtalla-Panchuria villages in Kolkata. - Anbu Selvam 


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