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Engaged University

The Concept:

Social commitment, leading to Community Engagement, is integral to the vision of Don Bosco University. To be “engaged” in Don Bosco University means fulfilling its inspirational and developmental role in the communities around it, nurturing synergy in reciprocal learning and action, based on student led initiatives in continuous dialogue among concerned stakeholders, towards alleviation and resolution of issues afflicting communities and environment.

The objectives:

  • To sensitise the University fraternity to burning social issues at local and global levels
  • To nurture a deeply-felt solidarity with the under-privileged as the hallmark of a Don Bosco University Graduate
  • To spark a personal commitment to community engagement

Outcomes and Impact:

As an engaged University, the faculty and students respond to social issues and initiate interventions based on participatory consultation with the members of the rural community. In recognition of this engagement, the University won the following awards.

  • Winner of “Engaged University of the Year 2020 Asia Pacific (Entrepreneurship and Engagement Excellence) Award” from the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial & Engaged Universities (ACEEU), Netherlands, against stiff competition from an eminent list of finalists: Swinburne University of Technology (Australia), Fuzhou University (China), Melbourne Polytechnic (Australia), Singapore University of Technology (Singapore), University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia) and Australian Catholic University (Australia).
  • The university was awarded the 7th eNabling North East Award 2019-2020 in the category Health, Sanitation & Wellbeing for its low cost solar powered drinking water initiative for 12 neighbouring villages.
  • 5th FICCI Higher Education Excellence Awards 2018 for Excellence in Institutional Social Responsibility (Special Mention).
  • Our Vice-Chancellor, Fr. Stephen Mavely, was Finalist in Engagement Leader of the Year (2020) in Asia Pacific by the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial & Engaged Universities (ACEEU), Netherlands.

Institutionalizing Community Engagement:

To coordinate all the Community Engagement Initiatives, the University launched its “Centre for Development Studies and Initiatives” (CDSI) in February 2017 at an interactive meeting held with the leaders of local communities. The centre has dedicated team to coordinate the community engagement initiatives of the university. The university is currently engaged in 12 villages with plans to extend it to 42 villages where socio-economic surveys have been completed. The Centre promotes initiatives in:

  • Livelihoods and Food security
  • Promotion of Education
  • Promotion of Community health
  • Promotion of local self-governance systems
  • Promotion of social security
  • Community Organization

A report on CDSI activities:


Refer: https://www.dbuniversity.ac.in/cdi.php

Mandatory Course in Service Learning

To make community engagement an integral part of education, we have introduced a mandatory course in Service Learning for all the students of the university. The course gives department specific theoretical input of 30 hours for all the students, followed by planned and supervised engagement by the students with communities (200 hours for UG students, 180 hours for PG students). These activities are followed by reporting and guided reflection, records being mantained for an individualised Certificate of Proficiency in Community Engagement at graduation. A 5-day Faculty Development Program prepared faculty to design the Course.

Some areas of community engagement initiatives where our faculty and students are involved are given below. Detailed information for each of these are available on our website; specific URL links are provided in the document uploaded (URL Links for supporting documents.pdf) under Any other relevant information:

1. Swastyayan … a commitment – providing free educational support to children from rural areas including free tuition, life skills programme, etc. Prajjwal is a similar programme organised at Kharguli campus every weekend. Educational needs of about 150 children are addressed annually through these programmes. Over these years 693 volunteers have engaged with 926 students.
This endeavour has also been recognised as a best practice model towards reduction of inequality in society by the International Association of Universities (IAU) in a 2016 survey of 120 higher education institutions globally (kindly refer: http://iau-hesd.net/sites/default/files/documents/higher-education-paving-the-way-to-sd-iau-2017.pdf

2. Swabalamban: This was recognised as a best practice for sustainable development by the International Association of Universities “Swabalamban”: Livelihood Training Programme for Youth

  • A faculty initiative to skill the unemployed youth in university neighborhoods.
  • Training provided in Inverter Assembling and Maintenance, Electrical House wiring, Welding, Masonry, etc.
  • The training was provided free of cost.

3. Crisis Response Programme
In times of natural disasters or humanitarian crisis, volunteers from the university reach out to the affected communities with resources.

4. “Bixudha Jal Asoni”: Clean Water and Sanitation Support

  • A project to provide clean drinking water free to 12 villages neighbouring the university and training villagers to maintain these installations
  • The project won the 7th eNabling North East Award 2019-2020.
  • BBC Storyworks, commissioned by IAU, made a documentary on it. Video Links in: URL Links for supporting documents.pdf

5. ADBU-UCDVO Support programme for Anganwadi Centres: A significant initiative as an Engaged University has been the International Student Volunteer Student Exchange Programme, a joint project with the University College Dublin Volunteers Overseas (UCDVO). Since 2014, we have renovated 27 anganwadi centres, installed 1 play park, and installed and repaired 3 water projects in and around the villages surrounding the University at Azara and Tapesia Campus.

6. Comics for Social Change: Jointly produced by the MSW students for combating common social ills in the villages, especially for the benefit of the illiterate https://web.dbuniversity.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Comics-for-Social-Change.pdf

7. VanitAgrata - Computer Literacy Project for Women: Vanit Agrata is the Women Empowerment Cell of the University under the leadership of female faculty members. It provides skill training on some modern tools and technologies to the semi-literate rural women in the areas like Basic Computer Training, using mobile phones, banking transactions, housekeeping, use of the internet etc.

8. Uniservitate - Institutionalisation of Solidarity Learning & Service In partnership with Porticus Foundation and Latin American Centre for Service Learning (CLAYSS), the University is among 20 Universities worldwide promoting processes of institutionalisation of Solidarity Learning and Service.

9. Bridging the Digital Divide: Assam Don Bosco University in collaboration with Don Bosco Network South Asia through the project “Bridging the digital divide: Providing access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools for education” installed 10 Smart TV and Airtel Kit in 9 schools and 1 anganwadi center located in the surrounding villages of the University.

10. Unnat Bharat Abhiyan: The University registered under the flagship programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2018 and was one of the 5 winner institutions who won Unnati Ki Kahani Chitro Ki Jubani competition among 800+ applicants. The university conducted programmes to contribute to the sustainable development goals like gender equality, promoting health, enhancing quality of Education by bridging the gap between university and rural students.

11. PMKVY-TI: University participated in the AICTE Scheme PMKVY-TI scheme in 2017-18 and 2018-19 to address the problem of unemployment.

12. National Service Scheme: The NSS Unit at Assam Don Bosco University was launched on 11 September 2018 with a goal to foster among students, improvement in personality, leadership potential, national outlook and a sense of civic responsibility, in consonance with the vision of the university: to mould “socially committed” individuals at the service of India and the world.


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