Curtin Sarawak creating an environment conscious campus community

Michael Tingang Engan of the NREB delivering his talk

Miri – 26 July 2011– Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently held an Environmental Sustainability Seminar for its staff and students to raise awareness of environmental issues within Sarawak, and particularly in the Miri area, as part of its aim to create an environment conscious campus community.

Some 60 staff and students attended the half-day seminar organised by the university’s newly formed Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) at the university campus.

The speakers for the seminar were Michael Tingang Engan, Regional Environment Officer with the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB); Sivanathiran Subramaniam, head of the Miri branch of the Department of Environment (DoE); and Gabrielyn Lee, Environment Manager for Shell Upstream International Asia.

Sivathaniran Subramaniam briefing participants on the DoE's roles and responsibilities.

Michael and Sivanathiran elaborated on local environmental issues and the roles and responsibilities of their agencies, which include carrying out awareness campaigns, monitoring of pollution, and enforcement of environmental legislation. Lee’s talk, meanwhile, was from a corporate perspective, outlining the economic, environmental and social drivers of Shell’s environmental policies; the manpower, resources, standards and documentation it utilises in environmental management; as well as its environmental foci.

In his welcoming speech, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Alistair Inglis commended the ESC for organising the seminar and making the effort to raise awareness of environmental sustainability issues within the university community.

He added that as Curtin Sarawak’s campus continues to grow, it is vital that the university introduces a formal environmental programme that promotes the long-term benefits of good corporate citizenship and sustainable development as a natural part of its business operations, help it plan and take practical action, and ensure regular monitoring and continual improvement.

Shell's Gabrielyn Lee gave a corporate perspective of environmental management

“In addition, as Curtin Sarawak has been existence for more than 10 years and become an integral part of Miri, it is time for us to be more involved with the local community regarding environmental issues,” Inglis stated.

According to the chairman of the ESC, Nicholas Leong, who is also the Corporate Communications Manager of the university, Curtin Sarawak is committed through its environmental charter to protecting and enhancing the environment for future generations, and to help secure the long-term sustainability of the education industry in Malaysia.

“We also aim to be acknowledged in the field of environmental sustainability as an innovative, dynamic, effective and distinctive contributor. We will therefore work towards minimising environmental risk on our campus, minimising our ecological footprint, and motivating our staff, students and other stakeholders to promote an environmentally responsible culture,” Leong said.

Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Alistair Inglis

He added that, with the establishment of the ESC, and soon an environmental sustainability plan and related management system for the campus, Curtin Sarawak is a pioneer among Curtin’s campuses, along with the main campus in Perth, in engaging in environmental action.

He thanked the NREB, DoE and Shell for their contributions to the seminar and said that the ESC looks forward to collaborating with them in the long-term in developing Curtin Sarawak’s environmental management programme and initiatives, and ensuring the continued beneficial use of the environment by all in Miri.

He added that there is much Curtin Sarawak can learn from their knowledge of environmental matters, technical expertise, experiences and best practices.

“We can certainly identify with business entities such as Shell, particularly how they manage to balance short and long-term interests, integrate economic, environmental and social considerations into their business, and what steps they take to reduce the environmental impact of their operations, products and services,” Leong remarked.

ESC chairman Nicholas Leong

Michael, meanwhile, said the formation of the ESC, as well as the seminar, were noble efforts on the part of Curtin Sarawak. He said the NREB looks forward to working with the ESC and the Curtin Sarawak community to improve the environmental quality in Sarawak.

Echoing Michael’s sentiments, Sivanathiran stated that the DoE was always prepared to work with institutions like Curtin Sarawak that shared a concern for the environment, while Lee said Shell was pleased to share its experiences and expertise with like-minded organisations.

For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my, call +60 85 443 939 or e-mail [email protected]y.

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