The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Service at NIST empowers students to connect with others in order to take action to enrich themselves, our communities and the world. It also offers an invaluable opportunity for them to engage with global issues at a local level, make connections with one another and outside community members, and develop the skills that will enable them to become successful global citizens. We are proud to offer over 20 service groups, co-led by student leaders and adult mentors. These sustainable groups address issues ranging from environmental protection to poverty alleviation to human rights advocacy.
Our extracurricular service groups cover a broad range of issues, addressing the four conditions of sustainability as identified by the sustainability compass: nature, economy, society and well-being. Student service groups fall into one of these four areas, including many of those outlined below.
- GreeNIST Rooftop Gardening: Promotes sustainable living by working on NIST’s own rooftop garden and selling organic produce grown by students and teachers.
- MushieMushie: Reduces poaching in Thailand by working with Freeland Foundation to support the Surviving Together programme. Students grow organic oyster mushrooms, sell them and host events to raise money to get families out of poaching and into mushroom farming to generate sustainable income.
- Ocean Marine Guardians: Preserves the ocean and marine ecosystems by making sustainable conservation efforts through events such as Clean Up the Reef Day, mangrove planting and artificial coral reef building.
- Microfinance: This sector of the student-run NIST Development Bank (NDB) works to give out micro-loans to NIST support staff members to enable them to start sustainable livelihoods.
- Service Bank: The second sector of the NDB gives loans and grants to NIST’s service group to enable them to do more meaningful, direct service.
- Development Projects: NIST’s DP students run two development projects in conjunction with Buffalo Tours. Working with the local communities in Maeramit Luang village in Omgoi, Thailand and also in Cambodia, NIST students conducted a comprehensive needs analysis and developed a full project proposal for the development of the village.
- Art Relief: Uses artistic skills to give visual art education opportunities to children and help change their lives. In the past, Charity Palette has conducted successful campaigns, such as the “Bangkok is not just a city. It’s a way of life.” T-shirts to raise money to support arts education for the underprivileged.
- Children of the Forest: Works with the Children of the Forest (COF) NGO located in Sangklaburi, Thailand, near the Burmese border, to provide protection and assistance to stateless Karen and Mon children and mothers. COF makes yearly trips to the organization to conduct needs assessments, bond with the children and provide appropriate aid.
- Operation Smile: Works with Operation Smile International to raise awareness of the issues of cleft lips and clef palates. Operation Smile runs annual events such as the Color Run to raise money to assist with these surgeries, and makes annual missions to visit the hospitals to assist with surgery and recovery.
- Dreams We Believe In: Works with children living with HIV/AIDS at the Mercy Centre to help them have the most fulfilling, normal childhood possible through activities such as beach trips and fun days, when they are invited to visit NIST. Dreams We Believe In also hosts annual activities on World AIDS Day.
The Sustainability Compass
Developed by the AtKisson Group, the Sustainability Compass establishes a common of understanding of sustainability and serves as a framework for service projects.
At NIST we use the compass to guide service learning, enabling us to go beyond charity and goodwill to truly make a lasting impact in the lives of others in the community. Our students utilize professional needs analysis and project management techniques to initiate sustainable programmes.
How Do Students Get Involved?
At NIST students take the lead in proposing, developing and launching service projects. This leads not only to greater learning opportunities, but also to greater attachment and commitment to the projects.