10 Years of Spreading Smiles – VSO’s Decennial Year Celebrations

Rishi Kant | Staff Writer

With the administration declaring the third Saturday of every month as a holiday across all institutions affiliated to MAHE, many would have used this opportunity to set their alarms off and spend the morning tucked away cozily in their beds. Despite this tempting scenario, scores of boys and girls, made their way smiling and laughing towards Sir MV Seminar Hall at MIT, standing apart from the crowd with a common yet distinctive feature, each one of them adorned the same t-shirts, white in colour. For they were the members of the VSO.

The Volunteer Services Organization (VSO), one of the biggest fraternities in MAHE, and definitely the biggest society committed to the cause of social upliftment, held their decennial year celebrations. They had completed a decade long journey of touching lives and spreading smiles across Manipal and Mangalore, and had gathered to celebrate this day with pride and of course, immense happiness.

Dr. Raj Warrier, former Vice-Chancellor of MAHE and the founding chairman of VSO, rightfully served as the Chief Guest on this special occasion. In his address to the audience, he looked back at the scenarios when VSO was newly formed, in 2007, with only four volunteers, and how, a decade later, is flying high and proudly stands as one of the defining faces of MAHE, in a straightforward yet frank manner, often employing humour to convey his ideas.

Dr. Warrier is credited to be the brain behind VSO. A visionary who saw the potential among the students of the then Manipal University, coming from different cultural background and walks of life, could come together and serve the society as a whole, and under his able guidance and mentorship, the organization stands the way it is now.

Statistically speaking, the VSO has a mammoth 3,500 active volunteers committed and dedicated to their cause. Volunteers hailing from 19 different institutes of MAHE spread across Manipal and Mangalore. However, it’s not the numbers that truly define the success story of VSO.

The VSO doesn’t limit itself to the poor and the underprivileged, it works for anyone and everyone, to help and inspire to those who need it the most. From helping the colleges with their convocations, to assisting the injured and the handicapped students with their exams, VSO is omnipresent. The spirit and enthusiasm shown by the volunteers in every task assigned to them is unmatched by any. Calling it a philanthropic society is an understatement.

Even though the word ‘organisation’ is carried in their name, the volunteers and members of the faculty function as a family, and even after graduating, the students are still in-touch with VSO. In her address, ex-Student Coordinator Sweta Mishra shared her experience and stories about VSO, of how it largely played a role in transforming her to a responsible student, dedicating herself to VSO in her spare time. She also talked briefly about how working for VSO is not always a bed of roses, as she recalls an incident involving the Police and the authorities following an uncontrollable scenario. But despite these difficulties, working for VSO, to put it simply, was an unforgettable experience, for her.

The celebration of such a landmark event would have been a misfit without the cutting of a cake proportionate to it, as a huge, meticulously prepared cake was laid down on the table at the stage, and was cut by Dr. Warrier. Refreshments were also served to keep the mojo of the hitherto lazy Saturday morning running.

Here is wishing VSO the best in touching even lives and spreading more smiles!

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Mildly entertaining, occasionally funny, and something pretentious 'coz the first two are too mainstream...