Students’ Initiatives: How UPM Can Boost Environmental Action Through MESYM

A few months ago I have written a blog post entitled ‘A Little Concerns, Much More Differences‘, addressing the importance of students’ commitment towards supporting the green campus concept in University Putra Malaysia (the university I currently enrolled in) as promoted by the Department of Student Affairs to raise environmental awareness among university students. Everyone can play a part individually to contribute to the sustainability of the environment. But have you thought about working together as one to bring something bigger to our society?

upm-logo

Logo Universiti Putra Malaysia

After going through my first year in UPM, I realise that there are actually lots of green events going on around the campus organised by students as part of their assignments or projects for certain subjects even though they are not all from the Faculty of Environmental Studies. From Wildlife Seminar (by students from Bachelor of Environmental Management), Recycle to Cycle programme (by the Department of Biology of the Faculty of Science) to bigger ones like week-long Earth Day campaign (too bad that I failed to featured it on my blog as I was kinda busy at that time), you can see small-scale green movements mushrooming here and there. It’s just that due to poor publicity, you can hardly notice them unless you really make an effort to find out or you come across it coincidently. Besides, a team of students from UPM got into the finalists for Green Space category in Anugerah Hijau 2014 held by EcoKnights by submitting the proposal ‘The River School‘ for the design of the Academy of Sustainability. For green events held by the authority, we have the Earth Day Celebration Ceremony 2014 and also a couple of tree planting activities at Bukit Expo and the Faculty of Computer Science.

How can we maximize environmental awareness?

When the efforts are done separately, the effects do not seem significant. We might reach short-term goal that way, but for the long term mission, which is to increase the environmental awareness in our society, each individual, faculty or even the authority should connect with each other to propel towards the same direction to deliver the green message more efficiently.

So I will give you a picture on how UPM can work with Malaysian Environmental Sustainability Youth Movement (MESYM) in order to get the unity of all members of the university to create the huge green force that benefits everyone.

A wonderful meet up of my coursemates with Leo. (photo taken by Leo)

A wonderful meet up of my coursemates with Leo. (photo taken by Leo)

For students

1)

Creating personal environmental projects

One of the greatest difficulties in making a green project or event happen is to get a bunch of people to work together for making it a success. Student-led initiatives could be done in UPM where students suggest to organise some green movements (student cycling club, for example) and get people to join you! Here is the place where you can meet like-minded people from different backgrounds who can give you actual support!

Student-led initiative to clean Port Dickson beach

2)

Sharing knowledge

We as students in tertiary level earn lots of knowledge normally people will not know. When we do an environmental-related presentation or project in class, we can share it on MESYM as a reference or source of information accessible by the public. This can clear some misunderstandings and pointing out issues that people are not familiar with or do not know at all. The knowledge can be a reference for other students of the same batch or the batch after that. It can even be built upon, expanding the horizon of the same knowledge.

Tasik Chini Fieldwork 2014

3)

Sharing resources

Besides sharing the knowledge within students of the same university (different courses have different perspectives on environmental issues), Although some students might be taking the same course in different universities, the modules could be different. When it comes to environmental information, we can keep ourselves updated by sharing it on this platform where students from all universities can reach it free of charge.

Resources on environmental issues

4)

Publicity

You do need to promote the event held to make it known to as much people as possible. Although it might be just a small student-organised event, it does mean something! Don’t hesitate to let people know about it here! The more participants for the event, the better grade you will get!

Tree planting in Shah Alam, plus a story written about this experience.

5)

Getting better opportunities: Green resume

As all the works students have done will be shown in the profile, it can be part of their resume after they graduate because it is the evidence what students have done to fulfill their social responsibility while striving in their academic field. Maybe a company will come across a student’s profile even before they graduate and is interested to ask he or she to work with them? Being active creates better opportunity for the future!

My own profile

For lecturers

1)

Giving motivation to the students

When an assignment is given just at class level, students might not take it too seriously because only the classmates will see their performance. But when they have to let everyone knows about the assignment they are doing and anyone can see it, they might see the whole thing differently and work harder on it. This change their mindset towards assignment which no longer only affecting their marks but also the perspective of society towards the topics they are studying.

2)

Generating responsibility among students

By posting the assignments on MESYM, the assignments will not be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ like all the previous submitted assignments which will never be seen again. The assignment will still be on the discussion board and people will be free to comment and ask questions. Students have to take responsibility of what they have posted and make sure the informations are accurate.

3)

New activities for class

Apart from the usual quizzes, assignments and presentations which are normally done in the class, students can be requested to do something different, such as a green proposal competition where students in groups will brainstorm for a practical green action and the winner team gets to promote the idea on MESYM to make the proposal come true! The competitiveness can surely add more fun in class. Or even better, competition among the universities!

For UPM

1)

Co-owning the projects/discussions/events done by the students

If UPM created a profile and all the students posted their works under the name of UPM, this makes the profile a green resume of the university. All the environmental projects from various faculties will be united and this portrays a bigger effort in promoting sustainable development.

Seminar on Climate Change uploaded by University of Nottingham’s lecturer Laura. This event also shows up under University of Nottingham’s profile.

2)

 Publicity

UPM can clearly state all the initiatives taken in developing green campus and set itself as a role model to other universities or schools. Everything will be in an organised manner as MESYM has a few sections such as event, project, announcement and discussion. When someone wants to know the green events held by the university, they can just look up for the event section. This creates a transparency in the concept of green campus because everyone knows about the efforts done!

 

 

Thus, this is not a top-down or bottom-up effort anymore! It is somewhere in the middle whenever their is an explosion of green idea, top and bottom can cooperate and make it happen! This is the reason why using the MESYM platform will turn out awesome and cool. There is nothing like this exists before and we will be the initiator for it to come true. Ideas and knowledge are meant to be shared, and everyone can contribute to make it big.

Beautiful sunrise in UPM

Welcome to MESYM!
Connecting the green dots

MESYM.com is a crowd-sourced platform and a living database for environmental movements in Malaysia. There are many good actions being done out there. Our goal is to bring them together. We connect the green dots.