Professor Mukti Kanta Mishra, based in Odisha, stands as an exemplary figure in the realm of education, having orchestrated a remarkable transformation of a failing university into a thriving institution. His visionary approach has positioned the university as a symbol of self-sustainability, emphasizing individual responsibility for waste reduction and optimal resource utilization.
The journey began around 2005 when Prof Mukti, alongside his colleague Prof DN Rao, undertook the challenge of revitalizing a college located in the tribal district of Odisha. The region, fraught with challenges posed by left-wing extremists, presented a daunting scenario. Faced with a choice, the professors decided to take matters into their own hands, becoming trustees of the college and steering it toward a path of growth.
In their pursuit of excellence, Prof Mukti developed a skill-based education model, integrating experiential and action learning through campus industries in collaboration with various industry giants. Despite the adversities, they expanded, establishing more campuses in Bhubaneswar and other locations.
The residential nature of the campuses posed waste management challenges. Prof Mukti addressed this by forging partnerships with local piggeries, which benefitted from the campus waste as feed for their livestock. Leftover food waste underwent digestion processes, transforming it into valuable manure.
The Centurion Campus in Bhubaneswar, initially on barren land, witnessed a transformation where waste food nurtured the growth of grass. Wastewater from hostels underwent treatment and found utility in fields and mango orchards. The university’s commitment to sustainability extended to recycling initiatives, with paper waste being converted into handmade paper, and plastic bottles shredded for paver production as part of the Civil Engineering course.
The university’s eco-conscious practices extend beyond waste management. Over 32 products, either directly produced or incubated through social enterprises or student-led startups, contribute to a diverse range of market-linked offerings. These products span from everyday items like bread and rice to specialized outputs like CO2 supercritical extracts, transformers, and high-precision components for organizations like HAL and ISRO.
Professor Mukti Kanta Mishra’s visionary leadership has not only revitalized a failing institution but has also positioned it as a beacon of sustainable education, where environmental consciousness and academic excellence coexist harmoniously. The university’s multifaceted approach stands as a testament to the possibilities of merging education with environmental responsibility, inspiring students and institutions alike.