Empowering global citizens: DPS International’s journey towards sustainable impact

Jun 6, 2024

DPS International School in Gurugram won a 2024 International School Award for its Student Task Force, reflecting their commitment to innovative, student-led initiatives for community wellbeing. Gunjan Tomar, Activities and Service as Action Coordinator at DPS International School, tells us about the evolution of the Student Task Force and the various initiatives to exist within it.

Empowering global citizens: DPS International’s journey towards sustainable impact

Jun 6, 2024 | ISL Magazine, Sustainability, Teaching & learning

By Gunjan Tomar

At DPS International, service learning is foundational, shaping our curriculum to nurture compassionate, responsible global citizens through the IB MYP model. Guided by our “service before self” motto, we foster a community of changemakers dedicated to sustainability and collaboration to solve real-world problems innovatively and creatively. Our 2024 International School Award for the Student Task Force reflects our commitment to innovative, student-led initiatives for community wellbeing.

Evolution of the Student Task Force (STF)

Launched in 2022, the Student Task Force (STF) aims to instil responsibility, leadership, and global citizenship among grade 9 students. Comprised of motivated individuals, it utilises the knowledge and skills acquired throughout students’ academic journey, including grades 6-8.

In the formative years, students embark on their Service as Action journey, engaging in unit-led, school-led, and self-led initiatives to develop skills for independent service endeavours.

Grade 6 students took forward the school-led initiative “Ditch the Tissue Paper, Let’s Bring a Handkerchief to School” to reduce tissue paper wastage in restrooms. Through poster and slogan campaigns and daily reminders, they successfully encouraged the school community to adopt handkerchiefs as a more sustainable option. They also explored waste minimisation and sustainable lab waste disposal in science lessons, integrating service learning into the curriculum.

Grade 7 students drove the school-led Climate Action Project to tackle climate change by focusing on raising awareness and advocating for environmental stewardship. They created impactful posters illustrating climate change’s diverse impacts on species and conducted interviews to capture first-hand experiences of global warming. They curated climate-related news to emphasise the need for collective action.

Grade 8 spearheaded the impactful Rethink Plastic Campaign, raising awareness about plastic pollution. They conducted surveys and activities like the “Wall of Plastic” and “Plastic Diary” to understand its effects. Delving into plastic types, they participated in upcycling competitions and created sustainable Minecraft worlds, fostering creativity and critical thinking to combat plastic pollution and become changemakers.

As students advance through grades 6, 7 and 8, they focus on foundational competencies like advocacy, teamwork, communication, and empathy, preparing them for grade 9 service initiatives as members of their chosen STF.

Empowering changemakers: the journey begins

In grade 9, students receive a detailed invitation to join the STF initiative. DPS International offers 10 STFs, adaptable based on student preferences and community needs. Students select task forces aligned with their interests and engage in internships and volunteer opportunities during the summer break to develop skills. These experiences lay a solid foundation for the STF, empowering students to lead impactful initiatives addressing local and global challenges.

“Students develop vital skills while making meaningful contributions to their communities.”

Impactful initiatives through Student Task Force: fostering diversity, inclusion and, equity in our school and global community

  • The “Biodiversity Crusaders” Task Force engages in environmental protection activities. The students interned with an NGO to learn sustainable practices like growing microgreens in repurposed containers. Next, they initiated a Recycle Hub for e-waste collection, collaborating with the Environment Club to repurpose materials like water bottles into planters. Their efforts also include spreading awareness about home microgreen cultivation in the community, making a significant impact on sustainability.
  • The ‘Social Media’ Task Force creates content that raises awareness about social causes, including marginalisation, the do’s and don’ts of social media, and how it could be used for the betterment of society. Additionally, students created media content about school events and initiatives.
  • The ‘Craft for a Cause’ Task Force taught interested students of grades 6, 7, and 8, crochet and various Indian cultural arts. They showcased over 200 handcrafted products at the Karigar Mela (Artisan Fair and the Environment Fair, raising funds for future projects). Their approach emphasises not only product creation but also fostering patience and supporting education initiatives by sharing profits with NGOs.
  • The ‘Study Buddy’ Task Force offers academic support to new admissions and other students in need, fostering an inclusive and equitable learning environment. They developed subject-specific resources, practice sheets, and help manuals for students requiring differentiated support, with teachers ensuring content accuracy and reliability. Many students benefited from these resources, enhancing their learning experience.
  • The ‘Wellness Squad’ Task Force prioritises student-led activities promoting general, physical, mental, and digital well-being. They organized TUNEOVATION, a fundraising concert featuring talented singers and instrumentalists from grade 9, with proceeds benefiting the Aaliya Trust for a young man’s heart surgery. Additionally, they crafted grade-specific personalised task sheets for the NGO Bachpanashala, furthering their commitment to supporting well-being initiatives.
  • The ‘Star Gazers’ Task Force is a passionate group of students committed to sharing their love for astronomy and expanding their horizons among peers and students from various NGOs. Through their Instagram handle, @stargazersdpsi, they actively engaged their audience with captivating astronomy insights. As part of the Outreach Program, they visited the Geeta Charitable Foundation every Friday, teaching local children fascinating topics in astronomy and reinforcing learning through fun and interactive games.
  • The ‘First Aiders’ Task Force offers vital first-aid training to both school and external communities through internships and practical sessions. Their comprehensive first-aid handbook covered common medical issues such as seizures and fainting spells, enabling easy access to correct first-aid responses. This initiative empowered students to become capable first responders and responsible citizens, enhancing safety and wellbeing for all.
  • The ‘Happy Paws’ Task Force is dedicated to promoting animal wellbeing and improving shelter conditions through creative fundraising and awareness activities. They organized a successful blanket drive, collecting 60 blankets for the Umeed animal shelter. Despite initial challenges, they raised over INR 13,000 through homemade food sales supporting Umeed efforts to rescue and care for injured animals and reflected a strong commitment to making a positive impact on animal welfare.
  • The ‘Tech for Good’ Task Force serves as the primary resource for students to master the school’s learning management system (LMS). They run training sessions for students to learn to navigate our school’s LMS. They also ensure accessibility features are integrated into classroom tools for inclusive learning experiences.

DPS International School students at Umeed animal shelter

Photo: DPS International School ‘Happy Paws’ task force students 

DPS International’s commitment to sustainable development is clear in its innovative student engagement and community impact. Integrating service learning and initiatives like the Student Task Force cultivates responsibility, leadership, and global citizenship. Through diverse projects tackling environmental, social, and educational challenges, students develop vital skills while making meaningful contributions to their communities.

Gunjan Tomar

Gunjan is the Activities and Service as Action Coordinator at DPS International School, Gurugram. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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This article was published in International School Leader Magazine

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