Pioneering Students’ Voluntary Camps
Chulalongkorn University is the first institution of higher education to pioneer student voluntary camps, organized as an external curricular activity of the Chulalongkorn University Students’ Club. This is due to the fact that voluntary camps were supported by UNESCO and they had been considered as part of young people’s activities since 1957 when UNESCO had the Youths’ Leaders Camp organized in the State of Gujarat in India. At that time, Vichit Srisa-an, a Chulalongkorn University student took part in the programme. After his return from the Camp, he established a students’ voluntary camp at Chulalongkorn University and the camp was launched on October 28th, 1959 in Ban Nalaobok, Nong Yao Sub-district, Chachoengsao Province. It used a hall in a temple as its site. The camp’s important project involved building a 2.5 kilometre road to connect the village with the main road. When the road was completed, members of the camp and local people named it Chularathsamukhkhi Road. The students also helped local people to cultivate a prototype pineapple plantation and named it the Chularathphathana Plantation. As well as the major projects which provided what local people needed and instilled a sense of leadership in the voluntary students, there were other activities that promoted education for children. These activities were, for example, creating teaching materials, giving lessons to children, organizing games and recreational activities appropriate to the children’s ages, building a playground and building men’s and women’s lavatories in schools. This voluntary camp was participated in by 49 students from 7 Faculties. The activities of voluntary camps of this kind have continued ever since and they have become examples for other universities to follow.