Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an integrated part of institutions of higher learning, as more education leaders realise that the ideology behind CSR guides their students and institutions to act ‘in an ethical and transparent way that contributes to the health and welfare of society’, according to ISO business standards. These standards provide an element in nurturing holistic talent and future professionals who will not only develop competencies for the workplace, but who are driven by a higher purpose to support their communities.
The core committee of HYPE+, led by Darric Tan Zhen Juea (2nd from left) at the fun fair event for the marginalised community supported by KAWAN.
Since its inception, HYPE+, a student club at INTI International College Penang (INTI), has aimed to raise awareness among today’s younger generation on charitable causes and how they can lend their support, even while still studying. Empowering students through a range of causes that they are passionate about, the club provides support to various ongoing causes in Penang, ranging from animal welfare, environmental conservation, and support for marginalised communities and the homeless. Such projects ultimately help young people to shape themselves towards becoming more compassionate, accepting and supportive of their surroundings and those who are in need.
Darric Tan Zhen Juea, the President of HYPE+, and a student pursuing INTI’s Bachelor of Commerce programme in collaboration with the University of Wollongong, Australia, shared that the club started volunteering at the Lumba Kuda Tzu Chi Recycling and Education Centre since January this year, as one of their charity initiatives.
Tzu Chi, a Taiwanese international humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO), has over 10 million members worldwide throughout 47 countries. In supporting the NGO’s efforts, INTI students made themselves available every Monday evening to participate in recycling different types of waste materials which they redefine as new resources.
“Guided by the mission of saving the earth, we were exposed to a new perspective on recyclable items. Through the guidance of the caretakers at the centre and other regular volunteers, our members worked tirelessly to sort out plastic, papers, cartons and electronic items donated to the centre to enable effective recycling and upcycling,” said Tan.
As they were working with volunteers of different age cohorts who upheld Tzu Chi’s humanitarian spirit of saving the earth’s resources, the students also learnt and appreciated the warmth, mutual respect and supportive culture that comes from offering services beyond their usual studying routine.
“Through this CSR project, we have been taught the 5R’s of recycling instead of the 3R’s we once knew. First, we RETHINK, then we REPAIR, then we REUSE, REDUCE, and we RECYCLE. The order of handling these items using the 5R principle is very important as it ensures that we are optimizing the Earth’s resources. It was truly an eye opener to work alongside the NGO,” he enthused.
As this weekly routine became more automated, HYPE+ didn’t stop there but moved on towards organising one-off events such as fund raisers, stress-relieving campaigns for students, and also started to support other organisations such as the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) in their charity works.
Among the many events they are organising with NGOs in Penang, HYPE+ recently organised a fundraiser for ‘KAWAN’, a centre which supports the homeless. Titled the HPYE+ Fun Fair, the event was organised on 28 July 2018 at INTI’s campus situated on Lebuh Bukit Jambul, Penang.
With the aim of raising funds to help the poor, HYPE+’s 16 committee members and 40 volunteers, along with Mr. Calvin Cheah, the Club Advisor, made this special event a public one that welcomed walk-in guests from the wider community.
Partnering with other INTI clubs and societies including the Pre-U Society, Nerf Club, E-sports Club and Christian Fellowship, HYPE+ took the lead in planning and managing various parts of the event including logistics, stall operators, emcee, photographers, marketing and crowd management in ensuring the event went smoothly with over 20 stalls set up at the venue.
Aimed at raising funds to help the poor, HYPE+ made this special CSR event a public one that welcomed walk-in guests from the general society.
The event saw 450 visitors who walked in and participated in the various activities, enjoying the variety of food, crafts-demonstration, games and performances, all of which were aimed for a good cause. Through the support of the wider community, the HYPE+ Fun Fair raised about RM1600 for the said poor and marginalised community.
Reflecting on their experience, Tan shared, “Teamwork and having a positive outlook have always been the major emphasis of the club as we focus on achieving charitable goals. In spite the challenges of organising such a large scale event, we were able to work together through the adversities with a positive attitude and learnt to work well with others, including the other clubs and societies.”
Hands-on learning through this real-life situation also prepared students well to enter the employment market in the future, as they acquired similar qualities to deal with adversities and challenges that are common in the workplace.
“Our club members learned to appreciate the value of our work in service to marginalised communities. In running this event, we were highly motivated, driven, and excited to be part of the fun fair despite having to balance our time for exams, and felt a sense of fulfilment from doing these charitable deeds,” Tan added.
Sharing how the event had also been a good leadership training for him personally, Tan elaborated, “As a leader, I have learned to be resourceful even through times when we had limited resources and time, especially during our final exams. This event taught me the value of diplomacy and the importance of understanding and leading a team even before the event itself, and I also developed a better perspective in managing people. In any situation, people play the most important role in the smooth running and planning of events. This helps to minimise setbacks. Emotional intelligence in managing the different personalities and perspectives was also crucial in ensuring a stable and positive working environment with others.”
INTI endeavours to include practical experiences in every programme on top of its co-curriculum activities. Providing hands-on learning through internships, employer projects as well as networking opportunities with local and international organisations, not only gives students the skills necessary in securing future employment, but to develop themselves as holistic individuals.