Social Responsibility

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Environmental Climate Change

Students proudly wear used clothes at Eco event
Even with nationwide recycling, solid waste is a major environmental problem in Malaysia. As a nation, Malaysia produces 8.4 million tonnes of waste a year. However, Malaysians are not in the habit of donating or wearing old clothes. Unwanted clothes are often included with the trash. Selling one’s old clothes, swapping or giving away is not in our culture. For this reason, Sunway University and Sunway College held an Eco Fashion Show during its Sunway Campus Eco-Passion Day 2012 to raise awareness among students and others not to be trashy but to donate, swop or recycle their old or pre-loved clothes.

Students of the American Degree Transfer Program of Sunway University presented the Eco Fashion Show. The clothes worn willingly by the students were donated by the staff of the Directorate of the Sunway Education Group. The students were proud to participate in the Eco Fashion show and gave their thumbs up for the clothes.

The staff also set up a Pre-loved clothing stall selling the donated clothes that were collected over the month before the event. Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) students of Sunway College helped to man the stall. Proceeds from the sale of the clothing items amounted to RM830 which together with booth rental income will be donated to an environmental NGO which is yet to be decided by staff.

Elizabeth Lee, Senior Executive Director, Sunway Education Group said “Wearing pre-loved clothing can be fashionable and is the highest form of sustainable fashion there is”.

“Our students’ efforts, definitely will not go unnoticed as it helps us to appreciate and treasure the clothes that we buy. Revering our clothes forms the basis for us to inculcate the habit of buying only what is necessary and ultimately through such actions we can all help to make this world a better place”, she added.

Sunway Campus has been recycling paper, glass, aluminium and plastics since 2002. It also implemented a No Free Plastic bag policy last year and officially banned Styrofoam on campus since October 2010. This year it introduced electronic waste recycling by providing e-waste bins.
Sunway’s eWaste campaign gets you thinking green
The widespread use of electronic gadgets and gear without a corresponding channel developed for their proper disposal is an issue that the Sunway Education Group (SE Group) is concerned with. As its IT Services department has pressed forward to deploy better technology to all the Sunway education institutions, they are also conscious of the dumping of used electronic items (eWaste).

Staff member placing his e-waste into the e-waste bin on Sunway campus

In March 2012, Sunway Education Group initiated a group-wide eWaste handling that is certified by the DOE. Notwithstanding the efforts, IT Services together with Health & Safety and Facility departments of Sunway extended this eWaste initiative to allow staff and students to dispose of their personal unwanted items conveniently at their work place. The recently launched campaign,“GreenThink! eWaste Disposal” is a convenient channel for the Sunway education community to discard their home e-waste. The name is a twist of the original name mooted which was “Think Green”. The organisors thought “GreenThink!” was different and more easily recalled.

eWaste collection bins have been deployed at strategic locations around Sunway campus. The three categories of eWaste that can be disposed are hand phones, electronic batteries, chargers, electronic boards and other electronic components. The eWaste bins will be cleared on the last Friday of every quarter and the items will be properly recycled or disposed of by DOE-certified centres. Special arrangements can be made for collection of bigger items for example old PCs, printers, audio players and TVs.

There is also an eWaste bin for collection of fluorescent lights of all types, may it be tubes or bulbs, energy-saving or incandescent.

Director of IT Services, Sunway Education Group Tony Lee, said, “Both the fluorescent lights and eWaste bins are available at two GreenThink! areas. One is located at our foyer, next to the Security Office and the other at our cafeteria, near the Energy Hub”.

“It takes only little effort to participate in our SEG “GreenThink! eWaste Disposal” campaign. Let’s all take responsibility together to protect our environment,” added Lee.

The Sunway Education Group has addressed the 3Rs “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle” environmental issue by recycling paper, glass, plastic and aluminium cans consistently since 2002, implemented the ‘Scrap-the-Styro’ campaign in 2010 and ‘Pay for Your Plastic Bag’ campaign in 2011.
Learning about business and charity

72 students of the Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) of Sunway College donated RM4,600 to WWF Malaysia. The amount was raised from a two-day product sale at the Energy Hub in Sunway College in which students applied knowledge of five management skills from their Business Leadership Management Fundamentals (BOH4M) class to come up with their own unique products and services to elicit purchases from their fellow students.

The BOH4M class with Brandon (4th from right, first row)
Class representative, Lee Ee-Anne said “We are proud to donate, even in this small way to WWF Malaysia, an organisation which makes a significant contribution to Malaysian wildlife. Thanks for all the great work you do”

From left to right, John Futa, Brandon Liu (receiving cheque), Liz Erskine, Ee-Anne and Dave Leonard
Fellow student, Christine Tan said “We had a fun experience raising the money and it feels good to help society and the environment”

Mr John Futa, Director of the CIMP and lecturers Liz Erskine and Dave Leonard as well as Ee-Anne presented the cheque to WWF Malaysia’s Youth Outreach Executive, Brandon Liu at Sunway College.


Campaign to stop the use of styrofoam food service products at Sunway University

Current Scenario: Our main cafeteria operator’s current practice, for those who take away food, is to provide foam polystyrene clam-shell containers. For catering at large group campus events and functions, foam polystyrene plates and cups are provided and the reason for this is to prevent misplacement of reusable crockery at such events. Reusable crockery is provided to all customers (students and staff) who eat at cafeteria and also for small group catering on campus.

This has resulted in a large amount of foam polystyrene being used at our cafeteria. Based on statistics from our cafeteria operator, our usage of foam polystyrene food service items for year 2009 was approximately 135,000 foam polystyrene plates, 63,000 foam polystyrene cups and 54,000 foam polystyrene foam clam-shell containers. This is much higher than the usage at Monash University.

Why stop foam polystyrene use?

Foam polystyrene (or known by the brand name “Styrofoam”) food service packaging is generally not recycled because it is not economically viable. (Large volumes are needed to get a decent yield. Also when incinerated, it releases CO2 and styrene, a possible human carcinogen. CO2 which is released is a greenhouse gas and it affects the ozone layer causing global warming. Grease renders polystyrene non-recyclable). Polystyrene foam disposables in food service, is bad for human health and the environment. The reasons are listed below:-

  • Toxic chemicals such as benzene and styrene which are suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins can leach out of these products into the food that they contain. These chemicals threaten human health and reproductive systems.
  • These products are made with petroleum, a non-sustainable, heavily polluting and increasingly endangered commodity.
  • These products take 500 years to biodegrade. It crumbles into fragments. A certain percentage of this product will be dumped in the environment, persisting on land as litter and breaking up into pieces that choke and clog animal digestive systems in waterways. These products take up more space in landfills than paper and eventually will re-enter the environment when landfills are filled with water or mechanical forces.

Some countries and cities have outlawed them such as Taiwan, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and coastal cities such as Orange County, Malibu to name a few. Penang will be banning them soon. In Jan 2008, USM banned polystyrene food packaging on their campus, calling it the white coffin campaign. INTI University College had a total ban on them in January 2010 and UM has banned them as well.

Alternative to foam polystyrene:

Unbleached paper plates and cups that biodegrade. They are a far more environmentally benign material. For take away, plastic containers are durable, reusable and recyclable. Proposal: For Sunway University to implement a campaign to stop the use of foam polystyrene food service products at its cafeteria.

Suggested method:
To follow campaign already adopted by Monash University, Sunway Campus (since June 18 and to be launched officially on 3 August):

The Monash experience:
Our cafeteria operator Ms Cindy Lee who does catering for Monash events, is not allowed to use foam polystyrene and is required to provide unbleached paper plates and cups for catering and plastic boxes for takeaway.

Monash University students and staff are required to bring their own reusable containers if they do not wish to purchase the biodegradable or plastic take-away boxes. Alternatively they could eat their meals at the cafeteria.

Our cafeteria operator has indicated that she is willing to adopt the same practice of Monash at Sunway University if we are prepared for our management to support and assist in informing our students and staff of Sunway University.

The advantages are that there is already a framework to follow and our cafeteria operator, Ms Cindy Lee is willing to adopt the practice at Sunway University. (She will charge 30 cts per person for the each plastic takeaway box and 30 cts per pax for biodegradable crockery for catering, same as Monash. This is at minimal effort and cost on our part.

Method of publicizing the campaign: Through announcements on the intranet, Sun UC blog, website, Blaze magazine and social media. Also, with posters placed prominently at the food outlets in the cafeteria. The campaign can be launched in conjunction with a Green event organised by SSD. Last year they organised Generation Green. They can get vendors such as Tupperware to sell reusable lunch boxes/containers and continue this more permanently.

Completeness of campaign: Cindy will no longer use small plastic bags for takeaway for snacks but will use unbleached paper bags which are biodegradable. She will limit offering plastic bags for take-away.

Other considerations:
Cindy currently recycles all plastic bottles and aluminium cans. We can look into supporting this by providing recycling bins in our cafeteria to enforce this on our students in the next step.

Objective and benefits: This campaign should be viewed seriously and is an agent of change on our campus community. It is an example of how a small alteration in habits can be hugely beneficial for the environment and for our planet. We hope to increase awareness and encourage a green lifestyle which can be a part of the students learning experience, helping them to be more socially and environmentally responsible citizens of the future.

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’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.

Amir with one of the paintings from his exhibition

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 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 (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, 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.

Sunway University Go Green

In conjunction with World Earth Day, Sunway University College hosted and organised “Generation Green”.

The 2-day event, jointly organised by the Sunway Alumni Office and students of the Canadian International Matriculation Programme, raised the awareness of tertiary students on matters pertaining to the environment and preservation, as well as to share practical methods on protecting it.

Sunway green T-Shirt were popular during the event!

There were talks, booths, games and educational block-buster movies that were open for all during the two days. Non-Governmental organisations such as the Global Environment Centre, Reef Check Malaysia, Project Daily Million, WWF Malaysia, Consumer Association of Penang, Ecoknights and Raleigh Kuala Lumpur showcased their efforts and interacted with the students to inculcate green habits and to encourage volunteerism amongst the students.

Sunway celebrates I “Heart” Earth Month

Sunway University in conjunction with the World Environment Day celebrated worldwide on 5 June 2011 has dedicated an entire month to show its support to Mother Nature. The campaign, an initiative by the Sunway Education Group is a concerted effort to create awareness and encourage lifestyle changes that support the preservation of our Earth by reducing, reusing and recycling as well as reducing carbon emissions to slow the effects of global warming and climate change.

During the opening speech, Ms Elizabeth Lee, Executive Director of Sunway Education Group said, “The progress of climate change abatement must go hand in hand with the strong involvement of communities and organizations to spur lifestyle changes and create awareness of the consequences of our actions on our environment”.

Planting treeA tree planting ceremony by the Sunway University Student Council commemorated the official launch of the campaign on the 1 June 2011. Elizabeth Lee, and Chiah Mun Mun, President of the Sunway University Student Council 2011 (SUSC) and committee members of the SUSC joined hands and planted two saplings that will grow into a grand Flame of the forest and Neem trees.

The campaign will also see a series of activities led by the Sunway University Student Council such as a collection of items for recycling, selling seeds and plants for the rooftop garden, a green bazaar that welcomes vendors with eco-friendly merchandizes such as Tupperware, handmade accessories, ecobaskets and the screening of documentaries as well as the launch of the No Plastic Bag Campaign.

The weekly collection drive of recyclable items will be sold and the proceeds will be channelled towards the Green Fund. The Green Fund will be used for the Student Council to support activities that benefit the environment.

The No Plastic Day Campaign will see all kiosks and outlets supporting the campaign by not providing free plastic bags that kickstarted on 1 June 2011, every Wednesday. Customers are encouraged to bring their own bag or alternatively purchase a plastic bag. The campaign will run until 31 August 2011, in which every day will be “No plastic bag” days.

Visiting green bazaar

Through the I “Heart” Earth Month Campaign, Sunway Education Group hopes to create awareness and stand united to make Mother Earth healthier as she is our home. The campaign aims to create a sense of personal responsibility within people and make them understand that their actions can help preserve the planet for the future generation to enjoy.

Lancaster students volunteer to plant trees in peat land forest
28 Lancaster University exchange students who were in Sunway University on a 3-week Sunway-Lancaster Summer Programme 2011 planted 150 “Tengek Burung” trees at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve, the largest peat land forest in Selangor. This activity was part of the annual tree planting campaign at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve managed by the Global Environment Centre (GEC), a Malaysian-based NGO committed to foster change in environmental issues. The Sunway University Student Council 2011 worked together with the Global Environment Centre to arrange for the Lancaster students to volunteer to help reforest this unique reserve.

Adam Ford, a graduate in Management from Lancaster University who joined the exchange students said “The tree planting was really amazing and the area that we went to was beautiful and unlike any place in the UK. I would have liked to spend more time there and plant even more trees. I hope the trees that we planted will do well and we will be able to make a return trip to see them in the future”. Another student, Billy Girow, a third year politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) student said “What we have done here is very much in line with what the Lancaster University Student Union does, which is to act with the aim of making a positive impact on the environment. We are really glad to be able to do this in Malaysia”.

“The objective of the tree replanting exercise was to create forest cover which further prevents encroachment into the forest such as illegal clearing and the risk of fire which is a cause of global warming” said Chiah Mun Mun, President of the Sunway University Student Council 2011.

So far, the GEC has managed to rally more than 2,000 volunteers to plant as many as 30,000 young trees in an area covering 60 hectares with various stakeholders and corporate partners support.


Glow-in- the-dark ensemble

The Sunway University Ensemble comprising 27 students and alumni shunned lights to embrace Earth Hour on March 31 between 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm as they performed during a recital which raised funds for the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, a non-profit organisation that gives to society through scholarships for the deserving.

The ensemble played with only clip-on lights illuminating their music sheets and donned glow stick bangles on their wrists for more visibility. The ensemble’s leader and conductor, Rockie Siew joined a glow stick on to his baton. Chief musician, Karen Lock said “The colourful glow sticks and music lent a great atmosphere to the event”.

Around 300 people attended the recital and had the opportunity to experience Earth Hour. Half of them also signed the Earth Hour pledge to live green form.

Yoo Ai Lee, a final year B.Bus student (Victoria University twinning programme) and musician said “I thought participating in Earth Hour was relevant especially when we see mother earth deteriorating. Even though one may be rich and can afford to pay for excess usage of water and electricity, money cannot buy everything and it is important that our youth learn to reduce wastage and preserve the environment.”

The ensemble’s leader, Rocky Siew said “We felt proud to participate in Earth Hour. Being in the dark also helped the audience focus on the music and I hope that gave everyone a chance to connect and enjoy the recital even more”.