LUMS Students Come Together to Train Support Staff
The spirit to help others is at the heart of LUMS, and the LUMS Community Service Society (LCSS) epitomises this. Among their many ways of giving back, their capacity building initiative called the Project for Uplifting LUMS Support Staff (PULSS) is an extremely successful venture where students come together to help support staff by conducting knowledge-based and skill-enhancing sessions.
The main goal of PULSS is to help support staff at LUMS in increasing extracurricular skills as well as job-related expertise. To achieve this they conduct training sessions, as well as help create awareness regarding everyday news. This initiative has helped maintain and build a strong connection between the support staff and the student body.
Twenty undergraduate students, and three directorate members overseeing them, form part of PULSS. At present the directorate comprises Sarah Fatima (Batch of 2022), Umar Hussain Sheikh (Batch of 2023) and Heyam Khan (Batch of 2023) and together they are responsible for running regular operations.
“PULSS holds weekly publicity session, where we inform support staff about the different sessions and ask them to join us. We also keep them posted about the sessions in a Whatsapp group. We try to add value to their life by taking a vote on what sessions they would like to study each week and what is most beneficial in their opinion,” explained Sarah.
These trainings are carefully designed to cater to the educational needs and wants of the LUMS support staff, to enhance their skills so they can get part-time jobs, or to prepare them to excel in their current jobs, she explained. “The staff’s input is taken into consideration at the start of the semester when deciding topics to teach, as they are the final recipients of the sessions. Thus, they are an integral part of the entire process.”
Due to the pandemic which resulted in the campus closing, the PULSS directorate made the decision to move all training initiatives for support staff online. At present they are sharing several interactive prototype videos revolving around two main topics: The Monetary & Banking System and Customer Service.
Sarah explained that the sessions will help explain the processes of the monetary and banking industry and its role in the economy specifically in Pakistan. “It will be able to create awareness amongst the LUMS support staff to use such services and this will position the country to make huge leaps in financial markets.”
Sessions in the pipeline include sessions on software skills such as Microsoft Office, sending and receiving emails. The one on first-aid and safety in the work-space, which is essential for workers in the Facilities and Engineering department, has been extremely popular.
Sarah fondly recalled moments during her time at PULSS that have inspired her journey. “Our sessions have led to some amazing moments, such as our session on Urdu literature revealed to us that Kaleem Bhai, a member of the AV staff, was pursuing a Masters in Urdu, and the session in the end became him teaching us things even we did not know. It is always amazing to see someone come out of their comfort zone, and actively participate in class.”
Shafqat Bhai, another staff member, owned a beauty cream business and classes held by PULSS on marketing, customer service, and starting and maintaining a business allowed him to go forth with his venture and excel in it.
“Such stories are what makes the work at PULSS incredibly rewarding, and motivates us to keep designing better and more relevant sessions,” she proudly proclaimed.