SAMARAHAN, 8th May 2019 : Service learning or service-based learning (SBL) is one of the new initiatives introduced in the Malaysian Higher Education Institutions curriculum aiming to enrich students’ learning experience and also to nurture student experience by providing service to the community. In-line with this objective, second year graduate students of Resource Chemistry program undertaking Environmental Chemistry II course from the Faculty of Resource Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) was involved in two SBL projects.
The first project was conducted at the St Michael Entingan Primary School located at Kg. Entingan, Kota Samarahan. The project was designed to create awareness about recycling (3R) among primary students. The school headmaster, Mr Achong Bujang was indeed very supportive and welcomed such collaborative initiative between the school and UNIMAS. A total of 38 students from primary 5 were involved in the recycling program which was performed on 10th April 2019.
The recycling program activities include talk by the Resource Chemistry students, hands-on activities (e.g. quizzes, crossword puzzle) and plastic challenge. The primary students were introduced to recycling concept and its importance, types of item that can be recycled and recycling bins used in Malaysia. Plastic challenge demonstrated the students’ creativeness and innovativeness in transforming used drinking bottles to various value added products.
The Resource Chemistry students also constructed bins from recycling items for the usage of the school students to practice recycling in school. The school is indeed hopeful to initiate similar activities in the future and we are truly grateful for their continuous support.
The second SBL project was carried out in collaboration with Majlis Perbandaran Kuching Selatan (MPKS). A community development program called “Green and Beautiful” was organized by MPKS on 13th April 2019 at Farley supermarket, Kota Samarahan. Dato’ Peter Minos was present to officiate the program. The program chairperson, Cr. Dr Florince Christy was very instrumental in making this program a success. Our Resource Chemistry students participated in three main activities: (1) recycling and composting exhibition to public and Farley staff, (2) waste separation training for Farley staff, and (3) plogging. Recycling exhibition consists of glass, plastic, and electronic (e)-waste. 3R brochures and pamphlets related to 3R and composting were distributed to visitors.
Various games and hands-on activities were also organized for visitors. Waste separation training aiming to educate Farley staff about organic waste separation was also performed. This training is vital to educate them about proper organic waste separation at source to ensure the success of composting at the later stage. The Resource Chemistry students and other invited students and guests were also involved in the plogging program which is an initiative to pick up litter or garbage from the surrounding area.
Indeed, both SBL projects were able to act as a platform to develop their communication skill, an essential skill for future particularly, the job market. In addition, students were also provided with opportunity to interact and offer their knowledge in solving problems faced by community, which can eventually ingrain sense of belonging to the society.