By Sheikh Iraj
The writer is a freelance journalist and feature writer
Travelling is a remarkable way to explore and know about other cultures and traditions. Bangladesh is blessed with plenty of exciting places to visit. As a country, we have a lot to offer, starting from our coasts and beaches to our archaeological sites to holy, historical places to hills and jungles to the fascinating countryside. For the students, this very idea of travelling is a fascinating way to learn and refresh their minds simultaneously. Travelling is good for both the mind and the soul and experts around the world always acknowledge that. There is a common perception among many that the influence of TV and the internet have made the youths less fascinated towards travelling. This notion cannot be denied totally whereas this is also true that different travel shows telecast on TV or on the internet have also motivated some youths to travel more. So it has been observed that school-going children and college students do travel but university students have better options to travel to different parts of our country. Here is a list of some of the prominent university travel and adventure clubs. Now don’t be disappointed if you are not a member of these clubs as many of these clubs allow non-members to travel with them.
Dhaka University Tourist Society
Dhaka University Tourist Society started its journey on October 30, 1995. It is a campus-based voluntary tourism organisation and since its inception, it has been working on social awareness to boost the tourism sector. The organisation works to provide easy access to tourism for both students and common people. Throughout the year, this organization organizes different long and short tours to quench the thirst of the adventure lovers. One of the best things about this organization is that you do not have to be a student of Dhaka University in order to travel with the group. By paying a certain fee, anyone can take part in the tours and the activities of the organization. For long trips, they travel to Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet, Nijhum Dwip, Kuakata, Sajek Valley and Khagrachari wherein they also arrange short trips within and nearby Dhaka. The organization has good relations with Bangladesh Tourism Board. This is why the members of DUTS get a 50 percent discount on travel guide training offered by Bangladesh Tourism Board. The members also receive discounts while staying in the government rest houses. The members get access to some exclusive remote spots which are not open for all. On different occasions, the DUTS organizes seminars, youth awareness programs and various kinds of fairs. The members also take part in the international tourism rally along with Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation. Some of the regular activities of the organization include planting trees, arranging regular tours for members and organizing seminars on international tourism. Dhaka University Tourist Society has also established a school in the remote area of Bandarban. Adnan Nadir (24), general secretary of the club, shared, “We organize different trips throughout the year. And anyone can join us by completing necessary formalities.”
Tourist Club of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology
Tourist Club of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology is one of the oldest university travel clubs. It was established on January 1, 1995. Every year the tourist club of SUST undertakes both national and international tours. The club members also take part and organize different activities such as arranging picnics, freshers’ reception, blood donation programs, tree plantation programs and warm cloth distribution program. It has also started providing scholarships to the poor but talented students. It’s one of the most active clubs of the university. They always encourage students and professionals to travel with them. It doesn’t matter if you are a student or not, you are welcomed to participate in different tours with them. This allows students and the members of the club to meet new people from various backgrounds which atomically enrich their knowledge. This club has its own website and a Facebook page.
Tourist and Adventure Clubs at Rajshahi University
Tourist and adventure clubs of Rajshahi University were established in 2014. In a short span of time, both the clubs have become very much popular among the university students. Mahfuz Munna, a third-year student of the Marketing department and founder of Rajshahi University tourist club, said, “After observing that there are many students who love travelling, I decided to start the tourist club. My aim was to create interest among the students of RU about travelling. Already we have visited many historical places such as Mahasthangar in Bogura, Paharpur at Naogaon, Rajbari in Natore and other places in the North Bengal region. Now we have nearly 50 members who actively participate in every tour we plan. There are about 4 or 5 active university travel clubs in our country. We keep close contact with them.”
On the other hand, adventure club of Rajshahi University is an open club for adventure-loving students. Murshed, a student of the Department of Finance of the university, first took the step for establishing the club on June 26, 2014. He said, “To break the monotony of our student life we organize many adventurous tours.”
Both these clubs take their decisions by consulting with each other using their Facebook groups named ‘Rajshahi University Tourists Club’ and ‘Rajshahi University Adventure Club’. They organize a monthly meeting on Facebook and decide their future plans there. These groups are open to the followers. They already have around eight hundred followers (each) and the number of club members is increasing day by day.
Cumilla University Tourist Club
Cumilla University Tourist Club is fairly a new club but has created quite an appeal among the travel lovers of the university. Just like the afore-mentioned university clubs they also allow students or professionals to participate in their tours. They have already arranged some tours in places like Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet and Nijhum Dwip, and plans to arrange more tours in the future.
Jahangirnagar Adventure Club
Jahangirnagar Adventure Club was once one of the most active clubs of this university, said Morshed Rayhan, founding president and now the advisor of the club. He went on to say, “We established the club in 2006 and in the beginning, we were getting a very good response from our members. After we left the university, the new club members seemed to be reluctant. They have stopped organizing tours. At the moment, the club is inactive.” Fowzia Ahmed, an MSC student of JU, confirmed that the club has not been active in the recent years. “Many students of our university have a real interest in travelling. Since our adventure club is inactive, many students have joined other travelling clubs or groups.”
BRACU Adventure Club
BRAC University Adventure Club (BUAC) started its journey on November 10, 2010. The goal of the club is to promote eco-friendly adventure-based tourism. Activities like swimming, trekking, rock climbing, cycling, surfing and many other activities related to adventure tourism are promoted among the club members. In just 8 years the club has been able to give the taste of adventure tourism to its members by organizing a number of indoor and outdoor activities. Ahnaf Rafid Bin Habib, former president of BUAC, said, “Normally the students of BRACU are the members of this club but on some occasions we allow other people to travel with us. We have about 600 members in our club and there are 40 to 50 regular members of the club who travel together. Sometimes we arrange some trips which are very challenging, so we try to pick experienced members of the club for those particular trips. Other activities of the club include distributing winter clothes, planting trees etc. We believe in eco-friendly tourism, so our members carry a trash bag with them while they travel. When we went to Cox’s Bazar, we arranged a beach-cleaning program.”
Bangla Mountaineering & Trekking Club (BMTC)
Bangla Mountaineering & Trekking Club (BMTC) is one of those clubs whose members love to travel during winter. Although it’s not a university travel club, most of its members are university students. This club can be considered as one of the most professional travel clubs and many of its members have summited some of the biggest mountains in the world which brought them in the limelight. MA Mohit, president of BMTC, said, “Every year during winter we travel to different locations. Our members prefer adventure travel. For example – last year we paid a visit to Amtali, Habiganj and some other places near Sylhet. We normally organize two-day long trips.”