By Tayiba Ahmed
To help create a world that is sustainable, American University of Sharjah (AUS) strives to promote sustainability on campus. Students are encouraged to recycle through the university’s recycling campaign, as well as to think about how they can help reduce energy use and conserve water. These initiatives reflect the university’s mission to educate and transform the AUS community by encouraging collaborative relationships among students, staff, faculty and community members to explore and implement the required changes to create a sustainable campus.
The university’s annual Environmental Day, held recently on campus, was the most recent initiative to educate students about creating a more sustainable environment. Hundreds of students and teachers from 37 schools in the UAE gathered at AUS to participate in the event. The theme for this year’s event, held in the Main Building of the campus, was “Moving Towards a Sustainable Environment.”
Organized by the AUS Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, AUS Environmental Day is known for its interesting interactive displays and exhibits. The event aims to promote awareness of local, regional and global environmental and sustainability issues among high school students. Another aim of the event is to introduce high school students to exciting careers in the field of environmental sciences, while also highlighting the AUS bachelor of science degree programs in biology, chemistry and environmental sciences.
“Sustainability and environmental awareness are extremely important topics. The main goal of an event such as this is to increase awareness of environmental issues and to create an interest in science among the youth, who will become our future leaders and scientists,” said Dr. Fatin Samara, Chairperson of the Environmental Day Committee and Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences.
Throughout the day, various activities took place including competitions, live demos, lectures and seminars by prominent speakers. The five competitions conducted were: the Environmental Awareness Poster Competition, the Environmental Awareness Video Competition, the Items Made With Recyclable Items Competition for AUS students; as well as the Sustainable Schools Poster and the Environmental Jeopardy/Quiz Competition for high school students.
“It was great to be acknowledged for our work, because usually projects such as this are not always appreciated or recognized. To be able to exhibit our work for others from outside AUS to see, and to be recognized and appreciated for it, felt great,” said Nour Safieh, a student from the Department of Mass Communication and winner of the Items Made with Recyclable Items Competition.
In February this year, American University of Sharjah got an international environmental certification, ISO14001 after successful implementation of the framework to improve resource eficiency, reduce waste and drive down costs. The ISO14000 certificate represents a series of environmental management standards developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for organizations.
Let us all, as members of the AUS community, contribute towards a sustainable environment by reducing our water and electricity consumption, reducing waste, reconnecting with nature and supporting local conservation efforts.
Tayiba Ahmed is a student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah.