27 February 2007

Getting High On Adventure and Responsibility

Students of the Canadian International Matriculation Programme at Sunway University College decided to take matters into their own hands in a mission to make the world a better place. The exact spot they wanted changed? Gunung Datuk in Negeri Sembilan, a popular trek with a summit that offers spectacular views, however the camp areas are defaced with the bane of human apathy – garbage and grafitti.

Led by their lecturers, Tan Meng Chwen and Nancy Litman, the 16 students Judith, Farah, Stephani, Nini, Aloysia, Arie, Dicky, Ikhwan, Kourosh, Edi, Naseem, Joanna, Amir, Nisita, Nee On and Amos (present and former) were mobilised up the mountain, bearing 5 litres of thinner, 20 pairs of gloves and 60 garbage bags.

The students spent a good part of the morning cleaning and scrubbing paint off boulders and collecting an endless array of waste – from empty wine bottles, cans, mineral bottles, cigarette butts, wrappers to footwear, cutlery, buckets, a sports bag, caps and even a ring!

“One way to change the mindset of students is by getting them to go on treks like this as we want to instil in them, sensitivity to the environment and to act responsibly” said Tan Meng Chwen. “If we all work together, we can make a difference to the world we live in” added Tan.

“The garbage was just too massive to be cleaned up in one day but we still did a great job and the place looked better” said Muhammed Ikhwan one of the CIMP students who joined the clean-up. “It’s unbelievable how inconsiderate some campers can be and this exercise is definitely a wake-up call to trekkers not to leave anything behind and take their garbage back with them” he added.

Tan hopes to incorporate mountain clean-ups as a regular feature of the students’ community activities that they have to fulfil in their curriculum. “We don’t mind the work however the only problem is that the cost of purchasing the materials for the clean-up can be quite high. We certainly hope a sponsor will come forward in the future to help in this great cause”.