An interview from the Bhaktivedanta College newsletter
Answers by Laxmimoni Dasi
Q: What you were doing before coming to the college?
For twenty-nine years I was the Principal of the Vaishnava Academy for Girls, in America. I was also involved in ISKCON education on other levels, as a child-protection advocate, a trainer, and a judge and as a member of ISKCON’s Ministry for Educational Development.
Q: What inspired you to serve as the Dean of Students?
One reason is that I am inspired by the team of wonderful devotees developing the college and training the students. Another is that I am inclined to remain connected to ISKCON’s educational development. The process of education is the backbone of ISKCON, on all levels, and I have always felt that whatever little good thing I can do becomes many times more valuable if I teach many others to do it.
Q: What are your responsibilities?
Counseling the students and working with the administration to improve the facilities and programs.
Q: What was accomplished in your first year?
This year the administrative team clarified the college’s direction. By examining the needs and opportunities in ISKCON and defining the college’s spiritual expectations of the students, we paved the way for success in the future. As a team we clarified our vision and how we want to achieve our goals and what we want to communicate to the students by detailed discussion. So we have a more determined system, and that should bring increased clarity into our dealings with the students. A new building is being constructed, which will increase our facilities. Now the groundwork is laid for the college to become a dynamic force in Srila Prabhupada’s mission of spreading Krishna consciousness.
Q: Tell us something about your experiences with the students?
Most students have almost no prior experience living in a temple. They do not all know the standards of temple life or the Vaishnava etiquette between men and women. We have students of many ages, so there is a bit of a challenge in bridging the generation gap; their social needs are different. And we have students from about fifteen countries; the language and cultural differences are challenging.
Q: What are the plans to develop this service?
We hope to offer exciting and enjoyable recreational, social, and cultural activities within the community of Radhadesh and more mentorship opportunities for the new students.