CCA sows seeds of a green campus

The Green CCA is an ongoing programme that was launched as an initiative last year, thanks to the collective efforts of the alumni, the students and the staff members of the Chandigarh College of Architecture.

“Gardening is a fulfilling hobby. When we grow something, we feel enriched,” shares Chandigarh College of Architecture Principal Dr Sangeeta Bagga Mehta, before adding, “The pandemic has certainly brought us closer to mother nature.”

In the wake of the nationwide lockdown last year, when life came to a grinding halt, members of the CCA family planted a green initiative. Bagga harks back to those days, saying, “When the classes were no longer bustling with students, the college campus wore a rather dull look. And everything that we do here at CCA is student-oriented. That is how we came across this idea of adding greenery to the campus. We felt that it would make the place more lively. The overall goal was to make a positive impact on the environment. And the Green CCA initiative took root.”

The Green CCA is an ongoing programme that was launched as an initiative last year, thanks to the collective efforts of the alumni, the students and the staff members of the Chandigarh College of Architecture. Bagga fondly recounts, “In a bid to break the ennui of lockdown, many of our students had taken to gardening at home last year. While members of the staff worked on the college premises, the students grew plants at home, using plastic bottles, paper cups and empty cartons, which were all transferred or replanted in the college campus once the lockdown restrictions were eased. So even though the college lost the hustle and bustle of students, it has welcomed a fresh batch of plants to the campus.”

She then reveals, “Last year in August, we also formed a group called the ‘Green Fingers’. The group consists of alumni, students and staff members. This group transcends the generation gap as the members connect across different batches. As we started sharing images of saplings and plants on online groups last year, more and more students grew interested in becoming a part of this. The initiative soon gained traction.”

Dwelling on the resourceful use of waste material in the programme, Bagga shares, “There was a lot of scrap lying the workshop, out of which we erected a trellis for the vines to grow on. There are creepers with yellow and bright purple flowers snaking up the framework. There is also section for medicinal plants like aloe vera. The roses, the hollyhocks the amaryllis, the dianthus and the bougainvillea are all blossoming.” Marvelling at the serene ambience of the garden, a spellbound Bagga remarks, “It is a riot of colours!”

Anjali Sagar, an alumna of CCA from the 1982 batch, grins, “It is my alma mater. And I had long dreamt of a green campus, overflowing with plants and trees.” Sagar, who is currently a visiting faculty at the college, adds. “The Green CCA programme is the reason behind the realisation of that dream. Under this programme, hundreds of plants have found new space in our campus. And since the very beginning of this initiative, we have been focussed on being self-reliant. We did not want to bank on the government to provide us anything. Nor did we purchase anything from the market. One batch of alumni arranged manure, while another batch contributed seeds. We also owe a lot to the gardeners, who have a very hands-on approach. They dutifully tend to the plants, and water them regularly. They are very knowledgeable. So, it was all our own combined efforts. I feel that the real spirit of CCA lives there in the campus.”

Tipu Singh Balwada, a fourth-year student, reflects, “While we were all cooped up in the house last year, we realised the real importance of greenery. Oxygen is very important. The faculty started gardening at college, we students, on the other hand, did our bit by growing small planters at home, which were later transferred to the college after the end of the lockdown. I alone have donated around fifty plants.” He adds, “The common manifesto of this initiative was to make our environment clean and green. So, with very little efforts, the programme has yielded an impressive outcome. The amount of work involved is minimal. Even if a student grows merely five planters, he can still make a difference. I would encourage other colleges to follow suit by adopting such green initiatives.”

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