Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Global Challenge Program with the theme: “Innovative Practice of Sustainable Development and Resource Recycling in China and Malaysia”, funded under the China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, was successfully held in Malaysia from 12 to 26th August 2019. The program was organised in conjunction with UTM’s summer school SS14: Accelerating Green Development in Asia (18-26th August 2019).

The joint program aimed to groom young graduates as global leaders to promote sustainability through cross-cultural communication. It also aimed to strengthen international students exchanges in the area of sustainable development relevant to food-energy-water nexus.

A total of 29 international students from three countries joined this program. They were from Ritsumeikan University, Japan (14 students), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (10 students) and Seoul National University of Science and Technology (Seoul Tech) (5 students). 17 UTM students joined this program as the local buddies.

The SJTU team was led by Prof Li Chunjie and Dr Gao Yueshu from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering. SJTU and UTM team first visited Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Kuala Lumpur Campus, and visited the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT)/ They also visited Xiamen University Malaysia Campus (XMUM), and Malacca heritage city.

The delegations met Prof. Dr. Zainuddin Abdul Manan, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic and Internationalisation in UTM KL Campus on the 15th of August 2019.

Visit to the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), UTM Kuala Lumpur Campus.

Visit to Xiamen University Malaysia (XMUM) Campus hosted by Dr. Woon Kok Sin (UTM Alumni). They visited the Green Energy Lab in XMUM.

 

The joint event was officiated in UTM Johor Bahru Campus. The program covered technical tours, lectures, workshops, team assignment and presentation.

The Opening Ceremony was officiated by Prof. Dr. Mohd. Ariffin Abu Hassan, the Associate Director for Global Education & Experience, UTM International. The event was graced by Prof. Dr. Mat Uzir Wahit, the Associate Chair (Quality & Strategy) from the School of Chemical & Energy Engineering, Prof Li Chunjie and Dr Gao Yueshu from SJTU and Ms. Kim Hajeong, the International Officer from Seoul Tech.

Visit to the aquaponics, biogas prototype lab and solar panel research site in UTM.

 

Lecture series on Sustainable Development

A series of lectures relevant to sustainable development was presented:

  1. Sustainable Consumption and Production by Prof. Lee Chew Tin, UTM
  2. Sustainable Renewable Energy Systems by Prof. Ir. Haslenda Hashim, UTM
  3. Low Carbon Economy in Iskandar Malaysia by Tpr. Chau Loon Wai, UTM
  4. Prospects and Challenges of Aquaponics for the Sustainable Development of Food Production in Urban Smart Farming, a public lecture by Prof Li Chunjie, SJTU.

A public lecture by Prof Li Chunjie: Prospects and Challenges of Aquaponics for the Sustainable Development of Food Production in Urban Smart Farming.

 

Visit to the Green School

The students visited the award-winning primary school at SJKC Pulai. The school won the Best of the Best Green School Awards (Primary School category) for two consecutive years (2017 and 2018) in the “RCE Iskandar Sustainable and Low-Carbon Schools Exhibition”. SJTU and UTM students studied the school’s green initiatives including the food-waste vermi-composting planting beds, aquaponics system and 3R corner. SJTU and UTM Students conducted a one-day workshop, working with the school children, to establish three posters illustrating the green programs of the school. Each poster showed the mapping of the 17 goals outlined under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The posters served as the visual aids  for the school children to present the green ideas to the visitors. Each year, the school receives many visitors from local and abroad. The school teachers and students appreciated the active and experiential learning where the basic concepts of the green projects were illustrated and visualised in the posters. In December 2018, Pulai School signed a Green School MoU with Anshu School in Kyoto, as initiated by the Department of Education Johor and Kikonet, Japan.

SDGs workshop and poster preparation for the green programs conducted in the school.  Food-waste was collected from the school canteen and sent to the integrated vermi-compost planting beds at Pulai Primary School to grow organic vetatables.

 

Visit to the Enterprise

The students visited the mega futuristic city, the Country Garden Forest City located within the Iskandar Region. Forest City has won world-level awards such as the Global Habitat Environment Planning and Design Award and the Global Green Building Industrialization Demonstration Park Award. According to the local environmental protection requirements, the developer has to solve the community sewage and domestic garbage independently; this brings a great challenge to the construction of  Forest City. The team discussed the sustainable development and construction of the townships in Forest City.

Standing on top of the innovative sewage treatment plant (STP) integrated within a green space in Forest City.

The STP adopted the advanced waste water technology using efficient biological treatment technology (Bio-X and MBS) as invented by Prof Zhang Zhenjia from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. It is a highly efficient STP designed for wastewater treatment and recycling for reuse in the high-rise residential area. The treated water is discharged to the man-made wetland to achieve zero-discharge to the surrounding ecosystem. The students studied the setup of the STP, equipment design and process flow.

 

Visit to the Government Authority

The group visited the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). A presentation on the Iskandar Malaysia Low Carbon Society Blueprint 2025 and action plans was given by the officers. IRDA catalyses the execution of more than 300 low carbon initiatives within the Iskandar Region.  The students were active in the Q & A session. They gained insights on how the government authority coordinates a large number of initiatives towards achieving the low-carbon economy.

Briefing on Iskandar Malaysia Low Carbon Society Blueprint 2025 and action plans in IRDA.

Visit to the Green Community

The group visited a low carbon village at Layang-layang, Johor, where a local community is practicing food-waste composting. It was a green initiative mediated by the Mini RTC (Rural Transformation Centre) of Layang-layang. Food-waste composting was demonstrated by the entrepreneur Mr. Zambri who has been collecting food waste for the past three years from over 20 households and turning the waste into bio-compost.  This is a showcase towards achieving the zero-waste society. Students studied the multi-stakeholders cooperation model (community, research institutions, government agency) for the composting project. They conducted interview to understand the challenges currently faced by the entrepreneur and proposed measures to scale-up the process for commercialisation.

Food-waste composting demonstration and data collection.

Team Presentation & Closing Ceremony

The students were grouped into seven teams, each group was given a topic related to the sustainable development and resource recycling. Students collected data from the experiential technical tours, lectures and independent team learning to prepare the team assignment and presentation.

Each team comprised students from the four countries (China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia). Despite the initial multicultural and language barriers, all members gradually demonstrated excellent communication skills to accomplish the team assignment.

Team assignment discussion and preparation.

Team assignment presentation. Award for the best presentation team.

The Closing Ceremony was graced by Assoc. Prof Mohd Azizi Che Yunus, the Associate Chair for the School of Chemical & Energy Engineering, and Prof Ho Chin Siong, the Director of UTM Low Carbon Asia Research Centre.

 

Multicultural Immersion

The students visited Malacca Historic City, Johor Bahru Chinese Historical Museum, Pulai National Park, Johor Bahru Tanjung Piai National Park (RAMSAR wetland), Desaru Beach and Fruit Farm, Johor Malay Cultural Village, Tanjung Balau Fishermen Museum, and Three Mountains’ King Chinese Temple. Students learnt about Malaysian culture, the historical development and urbanization process, the economic activities and conservation parks in Malaysia.

 

Wrap-up

The joint program provided the opportunity for students to conduct comprehensive survey of Malaysia’s practices in sustainable development and resource recycling. Importantly, the experiential and active learning involved direct engagements with the external stakeholders, i.e. the schools, communities, enterprises and governments to gain practical knowledge and insights on the sustainable development in Malaysia.

Students learnt and appreciated the multi-stakeholders cooperation model to realise the low-carbon society scenarios, and to fulfill the societal needs and safeguard the environmental well-beings.

Intensive multicultural interactions among the students, to work out the resolutions for sustainable urban development, would be a valuable life-long learning experience. From the students’ reflection report, some have expressed the deep impression of this program which expanded their perspective on sustainable development, gaining self-confidence and multicultural communication skill.

They have higher level of awareness on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inspired to live a leaner lifestyle.

To achieve sustainable development, every baby step counts. As a famous phrase says:

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

 

More information can be found at:

i) UTM Summer School SS14: Accelerating Green Development in Asia http://www.utm.my/mytree/ss14;

ii) UTM Green DNA http://www.utm.my/greendna/issrr/

             

 

 

 

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