Scio: The Manipal Chapter
The Manipal Chapter of Scio, which is Latin for ‘I know’, is an NGO that gives career counselling to high school students. Apart from career advice, Scio also organises medical camps in numerous locations providing full body checkups to those who cannot avail proper healthcare. Speaking to Vandith Nelakuduru, the President of Scio Manipal, and Ashish Mehta, a volunteer for the club, one can easily notice the passion and sense of purpose that the club is imbibed with.
Scio was first initiated in 2012 by Vandith’s brother, Vineeth, in BITS Hyderabad. The Manipal Chapter of Scio is the third one in the country after BITS Hyderabad and VIT Vellore. Scio Manipal is an autonomous body and functions independently. Although recognized only recently, Scio Manipal has been quite active over the last one and a half years. They have visited most of the schools in the Udupi-Manipal area, offering career guidance to students from classes eight to twelve. They also plan to expand and reach out to students in Mangalore, Kundapura, and Karkala, in the near future.
The story of how Scio received the support of MIT is rather interesting. They pitched the idea of the club to the President of the Student Council and from there went on to compete with other hopeful clubs in order to attain the institution’s endorsement. Their past work and the principles of the club won the authorities over, along with the fact that they didn’t require monetary aid from the college as they were already sponsored by different organizations. They merely required a room in order to host their GBMs and other deliberations.
As of now, Scio Manipal has thirty volunteers working for them, along with six board members. Recruitments for new volunteers begins on the fifth of April in NLH-104, from six in the evening. Students from all years are welcome to the recruitments. Scio also plans to recruit volunteers from the other colleges under Manipal University in the future, so as to have a diverse collection of members, in terms of career fields.
The members of the club go from school to school and impart whatever knowledge they have to the next generation of doctors, artists, and engineers, so that the children can make an informed decision as to what they would like to do with their lives. At the end of each career counselling seminar, titled ‘Vidya’, the volunteers take feedback from the students, in order for them to grow and be more aware of the doubts and grievances of the students. For example, suppose a student is in a dilemma of choosing between two different streams, then the club members draw up a ‘pros and cons’ list for each of the two streams in order to help the student make the best possible decision with regards to his/her career. Additionally, some students face parental pressure when deciding on a line of work, causing unrest and resentment in a child’s mind. In order to tackle this situation, the members of Scio informally give their contact details to students so that they or their parents can approach them directly. They may then discuss the benefits and risks of each career option that they would like their ward to pursue.
Scio also plans to hold an annual fest called ‘Veda’ where school students come to the college and get first-hand experience of what the life of an engineering student is like. Professors from MIT would disseminate information about the stream. Students would be given tours of the labs, workshops, and classrooms so that they get an idea of what they would be getting into. As of now ‘Veda’ would solely focus on the engineering stream but that is subject to growth in the following years.
Apart from these career oriented activities, Scio Manipal also hosts medical camps for the less privileged. One such camp was held last year at Malpe in which doctors and interns from KMC volunteered to offer free consultation. The Fisheries Union also helped with setting up of the camp. The initiative was a grand success as more than two hundred and fifty people showed up for a full body checkup. This event garnered a large amount of public interest and was featured prominently on the Times of India, Udayvani, and other local publications.
Scio’s Manipal chapter is a noble initiative as it tries to give our country what it needs most, people pursuing careers they love. To achieve this goal they will need empathy and persistence, and we hope to see this club grow bigger and stronger in the years to come.