8 January 2010

Sunway students “shout” for 350

Around 40 students from Sunway University College (Sunway), mostly from the Victoria University B.Bus twinning programme, took part in the Sunway 350 Survival Pool Party in conjunction with October 24, 2009: An International Day of Climate Action to make their voices heard loud and clear for 350.

The students were made up of Malaysian and international students from Taiwan, Nigeria, Indonesia and the much-affected Republic of the Maldives.

They joined citizens, scientists and world leaders in 177 countries who took to nearby streets, mountains, parks, and reefs on the same day to demand strong action on climate change, in what was the most participative day of environmental action in the planet’s history.

More than 4,400 rallies and events took place, all of them centred on the number 350, to draw attention to 350 parts per million (ppm), which an overwhelming number of scientists now insist is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“We decided to soak in the pool and form the ‘350’ human formation after the call for action from the President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, who held an official cabinet meeting in an unusual location – underwater - on 17 October 2009” said organiser Simpson Khoo, Public Relations Executive who is also a youth climate activist from Malaysian Youth Climate Justice Network (www.mycjn.org)

Ahmed Muzhid, a Sunway Information Technology (Hons) degree student from the Maldives said “If we are still continuing and further damaging our planet, my country and other island countries will be affected. I will lose my country and home”.

Youth across Asia have taken up the 350 call and organised creative events across the region. In China, more than 300 events were planned across the entire country while Vietnam youth hosted a nationwide summit in Hanoi to learn about climate change. In the Philippines, students in Manila highlighted the recent damage caused by typhoons and in Cambodia youth rallied at Angkor Wat one of the most iconic sites in Asia.

“350 has become a symbol of this new youth climate movement here and around the world. I’m glad that Sunway University College is organising this great event and I hope there will be greater awareness among Sunway students and more participation from them” shared by Ubong Akpaso a Sunway MUFY student from Nigeria.

Sunway shared the videos and photographs they took immediately with the 350.org’s website and the 350.org organizer displayed them along with hundreds of other photos taken around the world on the giant advertising screens of Times Square before hand-delivering the shots to UN delegations.

“Sometimes our parents and politicians say youth just don’t worry that much about global warming,” said Don Lin, a Sunway VU student from Taiwan. “I think we’ve proven—around the world—that there’s no issue we care more about.” He added.

The pool party involved students making the 350 Pledge and learning the dance mob moves to the chant “I say-It’s hot in here” and a 350 formation.

About other Sunway CSR Initiatives

This event follows the WWF-Malaysia Earth Hour and “Egg=Life” campaign involving Sunway students earlier in 2009. Sunway strives to work towards disseminating good social values to students via its CSR involvements through environmental activities, community outreach and also in providing scholarships.

Scholarships are awarded through the Jeffery Cheah Foundation which has been recently converted from Sunway Education Trust Fund. The Trust has dispersed RM 50 million since it was incepted in 1997.

About 350.ORG

350.org is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis—the solutions that science and justice demand. Their mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. Scientists have concluded that we are already above the safe zone at our current 390ppm, and that unless we are able to rapidly return to 350 ppm this century, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt.

5 January 2010

VU students on exchange get a bonus

Four students in the Victoria University (VU) Bachelor of Business twinning programme in Sunway University College will be off to their mother campus in Melbourne, Australia in the middle of February 2010 to do a semester (about 5 months) of their studies in VU Australia. What the four did not expect was that they were each given a grant of AUD5,000 by VU Australia to cover airfare, accommodation and other expenses relating to their studies.

VU students, Left to right : Vicky Riana, Fannie Chandra, Ng Mun Foong receiving the grants on behalf of the exchange students, from Prof Robert Bignall, Vice-Chancellor, Sunway University College. Second from right is Mustafa Yurukoff and extreme right is Saw Siu Siu.

Saw Siu Siu one of the four students, who is a Malaysian said “I was happy to be allowed to go to Australia and now I am really shocked but elated to receive this grant. We currently only pay the equivalent in Malaysian ringgit for our fees and now everything will be paid for us by VU Australia”

Ng Mun Foong also a Malaysian said “We are all excited and can’t wait to go to Australia to find out the difference between studying the VU programme in Sunway and in Australia. We plan also to participate in all the activities and learn more about Australian culture”.

The other two Australian-bound students are Vicky Riana and Fannie Chandra who are both from Indonesia.

An Australian student, Mustafa Yurukoff, a third year business student from VU Australia was an exchange student doing the reverse, studying a semester in VU at Sunway. He has just returned to Melbourne, Australia. Mustafa who sat four examinations here said “It was the best time of my life. I love Malaysia and the people are friendly. I like the warm weather. It felt like a home away from home”. Commenting on the programme here, he shared “I found the lecturers here friendly and approachable. I have made a lot of friends here and they made my experience here worthwhile”.

Amir’s art exhibition with a climate change message

Amir Ali, a final-year Fine Art student at Sunway University College and a native of the Maldives gave an exhibition of his paintings which was sponsored by Gloria Jeans Coffees Malaysia at its Sunway Pyramid outlet recently.

Amir with one of the paintings from his exhibition

Amir’s emotion-touched paintings, depicting how the world would look as a result of global warming, attracted Gloria Jeans to support the art exhibition as a climate change-themed one. The timing of the exhibition was deliberately chosen to coincide with the Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 from December 7 to December 18.

Recent news showing the Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed together with his Vice-President and 11 ministers holding a meeting on climate change under water brought the plight of the Maldives to the world that it may be submerged if nothing is done to reduce global warming.

Amir (left) presenting a souvenir to H.E Mohamed Zaki, The High Commissioner of the Republic of the Maldives. Datuk Shalimin Shaffie is on the left of His Excellency.

Amir shared “Global warming is my personal concern. Even though the Climate Change Conference may not at the moment, deliver major resolutions towards saving the earth from being further destroyed by human action, the most important thing we can do now is to make sure we do not destroy nature further”

Amir, 39 earned a scholarship to pursue a Diploma in Fine Art from Sunway. Prior to that, he served as a crime scene officer with the Forensics Department in the Maldives Police Service. Amir will be furthering his studies in Forensic Art overseas.

The art exhibition was officially unveiled by His Excellency Mohamed Zaki, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Maldives together with YBhg Datuk Shalimin Shaffie, Chairman of Malaysia International Franchise Sdn Bhd which owns the franchise rights for Gloria Jeans in Malaysia.