Planting Our Feet on the Ground

Establishing personal and financial connections now to create a more significant impact in the future

During the last few weeks, RISHI has been working on a series of internal developments in addition to choosing a new village in India. In particular, there has been a marked emphasis on both fundraising and forming connections within the club so that the members will obtain a better idea of who the people they will be working closely with the next few years are outside of RISHI.

We have been working on a few projects in order to fund the expenditures of this club as we prepare to return to India this summer. One innovative fundraising idea has been proposed through a startup called DonorsPlay. By testing a game or application on an Android or iOS device for five minutes each week, each student can contribute one dollar to our organization. Over the course of a semester, the collective student body will be able to raise a significant quantity of money through this very simple task. In the words of Spurthi Bhatt, our Director of Internal Finance, DonorsPlay “doesn’t require a huge amount of effort or planning like throwing an event or applying for a grant would, but it still has the potential to help us raise hundreds of dollars. And the beauty is that parents, friends, co workers, etc. can all help. It doesn’t just have to be club members.” Another recent endeavor by RISHI has been to apply for a grant competition by the Big Ideas at Berkeley foundation. Big Ideas allows us to propose a project to implement in India in one of a variety of categories, including clean and sustainable energy alternatives, global poverty alleviation, information technology for society, and more. If our idea has the capability of making an impact and a proper plan of execution, then winning the Big Ideas competition will provide us with grant money that can be used to turn our proposed project into a reality.

In addition to our fundraising pursuits, Project RISHI has focused on building a network within the team to encourage strong inter-member communication. The retreat at Willard Park was a fun way to introduce the new members to the club and get to know each other on a more personal level. Collaboration was the central goal of the activities conducted, including untangling the “human knot” and simply sharing fun facts about one another. We also felt that a great way to get to know each other and give back to the community was through local volunteer events such as the Berkeley Project. The Berkeley Project conducts a biannual day of service during which clubs and other groups from diverse backgrounds participate in the development of environmental sustainability. This collective cleaning of the Berkeley area is a way of building community and enlightening people as to how much we depend on the environment. A group from the Project RISHI team gathered near People’s Park to rake and gather debris from the streets, as often times trash gets transmitted in this way into the drainage system. Countless cigarettes were found littering the ground. This mode of environmental sustainability could correspond to a similar project in our village in India. Overall, the Berkeley chapter’s local undertakings have been fruitful; we hope that both internal development and external community impact can contribute positively to our efforts abroad.

If you would like to help us in our effort to fund future projects via DonorsPlay, text the code pr0 to the number 650–319–7142. This will provide you with a link to download the DonorsPlay app onto your phone, and the game downloaded through DonorsPlay must be played for at least five minutes each week.

Authors: Sneha Pang, Karina Oelerich, Preethi Venkat

Originally published at