Civic Scholar Takes Pride in Lending a Helping Hand

By Ed Moorhouse

The first time Mrittika Majumdar did something to serve her community, she wanted to do it for fun. Now, it’s an extension of who she is.

“I didn’t even know it was called fundraising,” Majumdar says, recalling an art exhibition she helped organize as a middle school student in India. “The whole process, from brainstorming to putting together the event, was a big thing for us. The response we got from our neighborhood was overwhelming.”

Mrittika Majumdar says she has made it her responsibility to serve her community.

Mrittika Majumdar says she has made it her responsibility to serve her community.

The exhibition raised money for a school for the visually impaired in India. Majumdar, her classmates, and other community members created their own works of art, from handmade cards and oil lamps to collages and paintings. Since that event, the Rutgers University–Camden student says she has made it her responsibility to serve her community.

“It’s a chance for me to give back and improve society in any small way that I can. At least I can give the effort. It’s important to me,” says Majumdar, a freshman finance major at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden.

In India, Majumdar was an active volunteer for many non-governmental organizations and as a girl guide — similar to a girl scout in the United States — earned the Rajya Puraskar Award, the highest state-level award given to guides and scouts. She also spent many hours tutoring children in English and math.

“Teaching kids impacted me a lot,” says Majumdar, who wants to pursue her MBA after she graduates and one day hopes to establish her own NGO. “There are so many hidden talents among them and it makes me feel good to make them feel empowered. I try to teach them that they can have a future and realize their dreams. Even if you spend just 10 minutes with them, you can connect with them and find out what inspires them.”

In the spring, Majumdar’s father, who works for PricewaterhouseCoopers, was transferred to work in the United States, which also meant Majumdar would be starting her college career in the United States.

“I never had plans to study in the U.S., but we moved to New Jersey in May and I wanted to find a college where I could be known,” says Majumdar, now a Montclair resident.

Rutgers–Camden’s small class sizes and commitment civic engagement was a perfect fit.

“I didn’t know what to expect at college, but the people here are very helpful and endearing,” she says. “This is a small, close-knit community and that’s what I liked about it.”

Majumdar was accepted into Rutgers–Camden’s Civic Scholars program, a learning community of select students who make a substantial commitment to civic engagement in Camden. Civic Scholars each commit 300 hours to the program over the course of the year, and spend time tutoring and mentoring young people, fighting hunger, promoting health, improving the environment, and supporting the development of job skills.

She also volunteers with Ignite, a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program aimed at “sparking discovery” through experiential and inquiry based instruction for Camden children in grades 4 to 8.

“Children all over the world are the same. Community engagement is universal,” Majumdar says. “Before I came here, I heard that Camden is a city facing a lot of challenges, but there are people here who want to get over those challenges and there are those willing to help. We need to lend a hand. Our efforts will help. A university is a place where passionate and inspired people come together to learn and giving that back to our society is important.”

Posted in: Community Outreach

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