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With Love, from Manipal – Daan Utsav ’16: Part 2

Daan Utsav, an annual nationwide phenomenon is being celebrated in Manipal University; 2016 being the fourth year in succession, the Volunteer Services Organization (VSO) of Manipal University planned to celebrate it in an extravagant manner. With the first two days of Daan Utsav taking Manipal by storm, successfully executing more than fifteen projects for the rest of the week was an even greater task.

happyThe third day was just as active as the first two with many projects continuing in full swing. VSO Mangalore initiated A Step to Help, a project which involved donations of footwear to students of a local school. VSO volunteers and the Sports Council of Manipal University helped conduct a program where about 150 children with special needs, from Manasa Rehabilitation Centre and Aasare, took part. With the second leg of many activities carrying on, Day 3 was one of the more silent days of the festival. All of it was paid off with the day’s Rangat – Vyanjan, an evening of poetry recitation by students followed by a stellar performance by SOC’s Kalamanch Drama Crew.

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The weeklong activities continued in full swing with DOC’s photobooth raking in many who wanted their pictures taken. The Digital Wishtree initiative of VSO Manipal also resumed with many pledging contributions to fulfill the wishes of the underprivileged. Rotaract Club of Manipal University hosted the cloth collection drive which turned out to be a giant success.

SOAHS starting the fourth day’s activities with Raktadaan, a blood donation drive which saw sizable participation from students and faculty as well as the general public. The Sports Council of Manipal University along with VSO hosted Saluting Men of Glory – a program aimed at thanking army personnel for their contribution to the nation. Many army personnel and ex-servicemen took part in the program including Col. Prakash Chandra (Deputy Director of General Services, MU), Col. CMS Kalakoti (Chief Warden of MIT), Col. SV Patwardhan (SM Officer, Commanding of the 4Kar Engineer Company NCC) and others. Day 4’s Rangat was the screening of Hera Pheri a classic comedy that everyone present enjoyed.

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The Department of Forensic Medicine, KMC Manipal took part in two programs on the same day. In the morning, letters from the general public were read out to thank the police forces for their services in the SP’s office at Manipal. The same night, VSO volunteers and the department staff paid a surprise visit to the night security guards along with the campus patrol and distributed tea to all of the 220 guards in both campuses. Night Out was another highlight of this Daan Utsav, bringing joy to all.

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Day 5 saw a burst in campus events with students armed with baskets and bags running around all across campus. MCODS hosted Brush the Milky Way – a workshop to instill healthy oral hygiene practices among primary school goers in the Karkala Taluk. MMMC adopted a government school in Rajivnagar, Manipal and promised aid for development for the coming year. VSO Mangalore hosted Sensitize to Sanitize – a sanitary pad distribution drive to women in post-natal wards. The Rural India Project came up with a unique way to celebrate Daan Utsav. A project in collaboration with Letters of Love, a UNHCR initiative that aims at writing letters to innocent refugee children stranded in Syria and Turkey, forcibly taken away from their homes, Love from TRIP was met with a huge positive response with more than 900 letters of heartfelt emotion over a span of 3 days. Naari Suraksha a two-day self-defense workshop for women hosted by KMC Manipal was met with a healthy participation from students and the general public. Trainers from Falcon Fitness Manipal taught the participants basics of self-defense and Muay Thai, a Thai martial art.

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Yaman, being was the theme for the day’s Rangat on the fourth day, with the faculty of Manipa University singing classic melodies in sync with the tagline for the day, an ode to old melodies. Dr. GK Prabhu and Asst. Prof. Suhas Kowshik of MIT were among the faculty who performed on stage.

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Day 7 also saw no dip in terms of participation, taking cues from day one. Love from Trip and Naari Suraksha took to day 2 in style seeing greater participation and interest. WGSHA hosted Annadaan, a program where they cooked and provided food for the underprivileged. MMMC held Chai Pe Charcha, a surprise visit to housekeeping staff with the Dean Dr. Ullas Kamath participating.

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The international students participating in the Study Abroad Program in Manipal also celebrated the joy of giving with Namaste India, visiting kids of a government school in Manipal to spend the day with them playing, teaching them dance and making cookies. The transport department staff of Manipal University were provided bottles of drinking water by Dr. Narayana Sabhahit, the Registrar of Manipal University. The funds collected in Splash and Dash were used to gift water bottles to drivers in Manipal.

It was the final day of Rangat that saw the largest participation. Bhavtarang saw street plays, dance, and drama from MCODS, DOC and ADA from MIT along with many other performances giving a perfect finish to the five days of cultural performances.

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SOC students could be seen popping in and out of all hostels collecting old newspapers and books to sell them to use the money to buy stationary for needy children under Lend a Hand. About 550 kg of newspapers were collected at the end of the drive.

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The final day had MCOPS hosting a thanks giving event where all public servants were thanked for all their services. It also saw the second leg of Tour De Manipal kick off with the participants cycling to ICICI Manipal Academy, Bangalore. The Photography Club of MIT Manipal who had been covering all events with their photojournalists came up with a unique idea; they printed the photos taken during the event coverage and under Yaadein visited the areas and gifted the photos to them.

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The festival that lasted seven days had months of planning behind it, VSO coordinators along with Campus Ambassadors of the nineteen colleges taking part in every step of the planning face making MU probably the only university to conduct more than 50 events in such large a scale. With the 4th Daan Utsav. Manipal University successfully integrated all colleges and student organizations into it, not limiting it to the Volunteer Services Organization. If this is any indication, the next year promises to be even bigger and better reaching out and initiating more projects and social welfare schemes that are to bear fruit for many years to come; as a sage recites– the more you give, the more you shall receive.

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