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How Can You Be A More Socially Responsible Student?

How Can You Be A More Socially Responsible Student? main image

Sponsored by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman

It seems like our world can’t catch a break at the moment – wars, poverty, climate change, a global pandemic – it all seems a bit much. This doesn’t mean some things can’t change though.

As the world becomes more aware and more informed of what can be done to ensure the health and welfare of society, it’s Generation Z (those born in the early 1990s to the mid 2000’s) that are stepping up to the plate and driving a lot of change: a recent study found just under half (45 percent) of Generation Z aspire to work for a company that makes a positive difference in the world.

Small actions can lead to big and positive changes in society. We’ve taken a closer look at some of the things you can do now – as well as what other students around the world have done – to make a real difference in the local community and beyond.

What does social responsibility mean?

There’s a lot of information out there about what it means to be socially responsible, but we can look at it as meaning you take responsibility for your actions and minimize the impact those actions have on society, culture and the environment.

So, how can I be a socially responsible student?

First of all, a change of habit definitely doesn’t have to be as tough or as complicated as you think. Although it may take some time, taking small but important steps in the right direction is key. Whether it’s at university or within your local community, here are some things you can start doing now.

Be active and socially aware in your community

This is a great way to spread positivity and influence change. Find out what activities, campaigns and projects you might be able to get involved with. If there isn’t anything out there, you can always start your own project and encourage others to get involved.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in Malaysia, has been encouraging its students to get involved in a number of community projects and services to help support various social causes to educate its students about social responsibilities and raise their awareness of the local community and environment.

In 2019, the UTAR Department of Student Affairs volunteered at Need to Feed the Need (NFN), a soup kitchen in Kuala Lumpur that offers food to those in need.

While over in the Faculty of Creative Industries Communication Department, students organized and raised funds for a campaign called waste.d which aims to educate the community on recycling by teaching them how to create compost from food wastes, while another group of Creative Industries Communication students organized a clean-up of Bagan Lallang Beach in Sepang.

Local schools and the general public have also been able to access free consultations for any health concerns, thanks to the university’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Service.

What’s more, since 2009 over 20,000 UTAR students have contributed to the University’s New Village Community Project which covers the various unique New Villages, estate and rural villages and indigenous people villages located throughout Malaysia.

Students visit and survey the needs and challenges of the villages, as well as plan activities for the villages based on the survey results. Such activities include health campaigns for its residents, cleaning up of the villages, offering IT education to school children, as well as language, leadership and motivation training programs.

Collaborative participation from other universities in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore provides a more diverse international experience as they share their own information and insights on social responsibilities across cultures.

Think of the planet

It’s the small things that can lead to big changes (most notably for the planet and your bills!) – so keep track of your energy and water consumption. Lights and air conditioning use up a lot of energy, so be sure to only use them when you actually need to, and remember to switch them off whenever you leave the room.

Nobody likes a litter bug either. Over the past few years there has been a rise in the number of litter picking initiatives around the world. As part of UTAR’s efforts in community awareness, a collaboration project with Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association sees students collect recyclable items around campus on a regular basis to raise awareness of recycling and the benefit it has on not just the local community, but the planet too.

Be a conscious and ethical consumer

The next time you order a coffee to takeout, consider taking your own reusable coffee cup with you instead. Reusable water bottles are also becoming a staple household item as universities, airports, shopping malls and sports stadiums now provide free water refill stations to help stop the overuse of plastic bottles, which often end up polluting our rivers and oceans. 

Your weekly grocery shopping trip is a great opportunity for you to scout out any nearby zero-waste stores which encourage shoppers to bring their own containers from home to stock up on non-perishable foods such as pasta, grains, cereals and in-season produce to help reduce the use of plastic packaging. 

The main objective of all the university’s volunteering and community projects is to educate its students on having compassion for others, understanding the community and the environment and its relationship  to students’ social responsibilities.

Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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