As part of their efforts to raise awareness on the dire needs of Malaysian wildlife, World Wildlife Fund Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia), a globally recognised name in wildlife conservation, partnered with INTI International University & Colleges to promote environmental awareness and sustainable living among students, and to encourage them to take up the important role of raising consciousness among their family, friends and communities about the environment.
With a strong desire to spread the message on Malaysia’s natural heritage, students from INTI International University (IIU), INTI International College Subang (IICS) and INTI International College Penang (IICP) explored innovative avenues to reach out to their peers and communities by leveraging the skills and knowledge they had gained from their classrooms.
At IIU, students pursuing their Foundation Studies focused on turtle conservation, attending lectures to familiarise themselves with the realities of how human activity has impacted Malaysia’s marine life, followed by a week-long exhibition on campus to share what they had learnt with fellow students, staff and visitors. The exhibition also included competitions such as essay writing, spelling bees, public speaking and even an acapella song-writing contest on the topic of turtle conservation – all in a bid to raise awareness. Students also showed off their entrepreneurial skills by selling snacks to raise funds for WWF-Malaysia.
Associate Professor Phawani Vijayaratnam from the Centre of Liberal Arts and Languages said, “The students gained an invaluable lesson in appreciating nature and that every action has its consequences. In addition to exposure to environmental issues, this collaboration also gave students the opportunity to build up their competencies in communication, event planning, teamwork and innovative thinking, and helped students develop a conscientious mind-set that will help them redefine their roles as future employees and leaders.”
In IICS, students from the School of Hospitality took on the theme of “Forest for Water, Water for Life”, utilising their culinary skills and hospitality knowledge to organise a barbeque fundraising dinner titled “Jungle Party,” The purposeful and fun event hosted 50 INTI staff, students and members of the public, and included a unique menu, mini carnival, and conversations to raise awareness on the importance of Malaysia’s rainforests.
Kartina Abu Bakar, Senior Lecturer at the School of Hospitality, shared, “This project taught students the value of forests, how it enriches our lives and what it offers us, as well as the increasing need to keep forest ecosystems healthy. I am very proud of these students as they have invested a lot of time, effort and thought in ensuring the smooth execution of this event. With ecotourism gaining traction as a unique offering in Malaysia, this opportunity offered some good insights into incorporating environmental conservation theories into practice and how they can leverage these ideas in their future workplace.”
Students from the Centre for American Studies also deep dived into forest conversation for nearly two weeks as part of their Biodiversity subject, and complemented the lessons they had learned by organising a two-day fundraising carnival on campus.
Kevin Lowrence, Dean of the Centre for American Studies said: “Beyond gaining practical experiences and skills, students now have a better understanding of the implications and impact of human activities on biodiversity, and have resolved to incorporate these values into their personal lives – a trait that often, as busy professionals, we tend to overlook. The key message that every little bit helps to improve our environment is a significant one, especially in a world driven by increased consumerism, and we are grateful to work with WWF-Malaysia who have shared their resources and knowledge with us so that together, we can all make the world a better place.”
In IICP, students and staff organised several programmes including a PR campaign titled “Save the Stripes”, dedicated to the iconic Malayan tiger. The programme aimed to create awareness among the general public and provided students the opportunity to explore ways through which they could creatively share the message on this endangered species. In addition to sharing sessions by WWF-Malaysia, students also organised activities such as henna hand painting, face painting, jewellery making and origami folding in a bid to raise funds for this noble cause.
Sharon Lo, Corporate Engagement Manager (Northern region) for WWF-Malaysia said, “I am really grateful to have worked with INTI and thank the students for the incredible efforts they have made to raise awareness in protecting our environment. Beyond the donations they have generously secured, it is the passion that really counts and we have seen these past months how dedicated these students really are to all of our causes. As the future generation, this passion is not only important in protecting the environment, but in driving everything we hope to achieve as a country.”
Across all campuses, students collectively raised more than MYR 27,300.00, the proceeds of which will be donated in its entirety to WWF-Malaysia. INTI’s partnership with WWF-Malaysia is one of many efforts to include industry and non-governmental organisations’ as part of students’ learning journeys. In doing so, this has enabled students to gain hands on experiences and real-life knowledge that helps prepare them for their future careers and life beyond.