National Service Scheme was formed in India in 1969.The main goal of NSS is to foster national integration and social harmony, its motto being 'Not Me, But You'. The symbol of the NSS, the giant Rath Wheel stands for continuity as well as change and symbolizes the continuous striving of the NSS for social change.NSS helps students understand the community in which they work: it uses their knowledge to find practical solutions to community problems. NSS creates a sense of social and civic responsibility in the students who enroll as volunteers.
These objectives are realized through various activities under the guidance and supervision of the NSS Programme Officers.
The College NSS has five units under the University of Madras. 500 enthusiastic volunteers (undergraduates) actively participate in various social service activities. The NSS activities are of two types - one is the regular activity and the other is the special camp. The NSS volunteers who have completed two years of service and who have completed 20 hours of service in two academic years and the special camp (which is for ten days) are awarded certificates.
The regular activities of the NSS include participation in rallies, seminars, camps, programs on social evils, domestic violence, gender issues, diabetes, road safety, the environment and AIDS awareness programs. The volunteers also make regular visits to old age homes, orphanages and slums. They also have programs for the visually challenged and the ‘differently abled’. Programs for the education of children and empowerment of the poor, especially women are also held. The volunteers also participate in a variety of cultural programmes and competitions and frequently volunteer their services for the college functions. Few NSS volunteers are chosen to attend the prestigious Republic Day training camp and participate in the Republic Day Parade in Delhi or in Chennai. All the NSS activities of the college are organized and monitored by the NSS program officers.
One of the annual activities of the NSS is the special camp which is held either in a village or in a slum in the city. Ayothiya Kuppam in Chennai was adopted for the camp. In this camp NSS volunteers rentered various services to the residents. Ways of preparing simple handicrafts were taught to women and they were informed about the benefit of forming self-help groups. The volunteers also conducted a survey on the socio-economic conditions of the residents.
Besides these activities, the NSS units also organize various camps like eye camps, veterinary camps, blood donation camps and health camps. Seminars, workshops, cultural programs, training programs and awareness programs are held in collaboration with public and private organizations and NGOs. Apart from service to society, these activities give the student volunteers greater exposure and tenacity to deal with social issues.