April 21, 2024

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VISO 2023: Empowering Students through Soap-Making, STEM Education, and Environmental Awareness

The Vigorous Soap Program (VISO 2023) is a socio-educational volunteer initiative designed to introduce students to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Organized by the educational sociology course (SHPP 4062) and guided by lecturer Mr. Shahrin bin Hashim, VISO 2023 involves a total of 36 fourth-year students from the School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSH) at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

Used cooking oil, widely discarded as domestic waste by everyone, presents a significant environmental issue. It contributes to pollution and poses harmful effects when improperly disposed of (Feo et al., 2020). The program aims to address this critical issue by raising awareness through STEM education and hands-on learning, empowering high school students to cultivate a sense of responsibility for a cleaner, more sustainable future.

VISO 2023 focuses on soap-making using used cooking oil as its main objective. The initiative exposes students to alternative cooking oil management, specifically soap making, while concurrently enhancing environmental awareness regarding proper cooking oil disposal. Additionally, VISO 2023 aims to foster increased interest in STEM fields among students.

The program aligns with several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably SDG 4, emphasizing quality education for school students through out-of-classroom learning programs incorporating STEM education elements. This aligns with the goal of making education a primary tool for achieving sustainable development in the region. Furthermore, VISO 2023 supports SDG 7, which focuses on Affordable and Clean Energy, as it involves soap making from recycled sources.

On December 12, 2023, VISO 2023 was successfully conducted at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Impian Emas with full support from the school’s Principal, Mrs. Wong Cheui Keen, Assistant Principal of Student Affairs, Mrs. Suhaibah, and other teachers such as Mr. Zailani and Mrs. Shazrini. The program engaged a total of 115 students, comprising both Form 3 and Form 4 students.

The first program activity is the Group Training Session (GTS) led by Nurul Faizah. During this session, students are exposed to proper cooking oil management and the potential consequences of incorrect and unsafe oil disposal. A total of 23 groups are formed, each assisted by a facilitator, boosting students’ confidence levels in addressing questions and providing valuable practical experience in proper cooking oil management.

The program continues with a VISO 2023 workshop on soap-making using used cooking oil, conducted by Khairudin Helmy. The workshop introduces students to safety precautions during soap making, materials used, and the steps involved in the process, with the primary ingredients being used cooking oil.

Following the workshop, the VISO 2023 competition takes place for 2 hours. Each group is provided with a worksheet on soap making and a guide containing the steps. Critical and creative thinking skills are developed as students answer questions and produce soap using used cooking oil.

A soap booth is set up during the program, displaying previously produced soap products. Simultaneously, a used cooking oil buying and selling session is conducted, purchasing excess used cooking oil at a rate of 1 kg for RM 2.30. The used oil is weighed first using the provided scale, and the recorded weight is documented to determine the overall quantity. Students selling the used cooking oil receive money based on the recorded weight, with a total of 37.73 kg successfully purchased. This initiative aims to provide students with ideas on effective used cooking oil management at home.

The soap-making process created a dynamic learning environment, promoting active participation. As a result, students gained a deeper understanding of environmental issues associated with used cooking oil disposal. Additionally, through the competition, students acquired practical skills related to soap-making.

VISO 2023, which owned by Dr. Noorzana Khamis. has demonstrated that students’ environmental awareness is increasing, enabling them to put suggested ideas into practice. The worksheet was used to evaluate their understanding after the activities. The impact of this program is evident in helping students contribute to making Earth a better place by practicing the principles of 3R – reduce, reuse, and recycle used cooking oil.

 

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Fourth-year students from the School of Education, FSSH at UTM

 

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Vigorous Soap Program at SMK Impian Emas

 

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The successful production of soap from used cooking oil by students of SMK Impian Emas.

 

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Group Training Session (GTS) led by Nurul Faizah
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Students actively participate during the GTS.
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The GTS is continued with a session together with the facilitators.
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Workshop was conducted by Khairudin Helmy
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The facilitator assisted each group during the VISO 2023 workshop.

 

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Students make soap during the competition.
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Students successfully produced soap using used cooking oil.

 

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A soap booth conducted by the VISO 2023 team.
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Students actively participate during the soap exhibition.

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The purchase of used cooking oil received overall positive response from both students and teachers.

 

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The winner of the first place in the VISO 2023 competition.
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The certificate and plaque presentation session for the school.
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