Learn, Share and Encourage in practice.
By the time you read this, the year is almost over. It was a memorable and tremendous year, 2013. Not only because we celebrated the Centennial; also because the Alumni Association became “of age”, so to speak.
During an extended period of – not so successful – experimenting with a centralized form and structure for the AA, various regional groups of alumni formed Regional Representative boards and started to organize activities. With the support of the VDMS office staff, they organized events to strengthen the bond between between themselves and to offer educationally and socially relevant programs to different groups in their local societies.
By providing financial support for the organization of educational and social events, the VDMS board promoted the original idea of the founders of VDMS, Mr. Coen van Deventer and his wife Betsy Maas, which, freely translated, boils down to the recommendation, if not admonition, to apply your capabilities to the improvement of society.
To our great satisfaction, alumni in all regions of the country responded enthusiastically by organizing all kinds of different educational and social events. Just look at the impressive moment of events in this Centennial year.
I think, or rather I know, that the instigator and the restless supporter of the idea of a strong network of alumni, to support each other and society, in short, a valuable alumni association, Pak Edwin Kisman, is quite happy with these accomplishments. And rightfully so: you alumni and alumnae, in a number of cases supported by PICs and grantees, have done a commendable job. You have applied your knowledge and your skills and made valuable contributions to society. By doing so, you learned, you shared and you encouraged others to take care of each other and society, beyond your own circle. You took part in a cultural transition
Now, can we pick the best activity? Should we pick the best one?
Actually, I think that you, who can see the effects of your efforts first hand, can determine whether you achieved your objectives. Being a long distance away, I cannot, with one exception: the mangrove planting project by the RR Kupang, NTT, which I visited recently.
This project brings improvement to the living conditions, and the environment of the people of Oesapa
The project brings:
1. Positive social impact:
– Structural improvement in living conditions of coastal residents
– Rebuilding and preservation of natural conditions
– Building a lasting relationship between residents and alumni/students
– Collaboration of intellectually and socially diverse groups
2. Educational impact:
– Awareness of potential of intellectual and social “border-crossing” cooperation
– Gaining insight in areas beyond own habitat and expertise
– Appreciation for the importance of environmental protection
– Awareness of the level of accomplishment reached through team building
– Dissemination of knowledge and skills through extra-curricular action
– Teaching and learning by example
– Experiencing the value of teamwork
– Even though they are separately living, it is not a constraint for them for doing the activities
– Teamwork is one of the most important thing to achieve the organization goal, mission and vision
From these points one could derive the following general criteria to judge a social/educational project:
Structural impact (maybe even a cultural transition) Improvement of targeted conditions Social integration Dissemination of knowledge and skills
My conclusion cannot be other than that you, alumni/ae and all those who have played a supporting role in the 2013 events, have done a great job.
What is especially gratifying is that the original idea of Pak Edwin is shaping up to become a strong network for alumni/ae, supporting each other and making valuable contributions towards the improvement of society.
Keep learning, sharing and encouraging. And as pak Edwin said: JUST DO IT!
The VDMS board members wish all of you happy holidays and tahun baru sejahtera.
Onno de Fouw
Some pictures of Mangrove Rehabilitation