Throughout this challenging year all of us in IMU continued to put our best feet forward. We strove, we drove and we served the best we could despite the challenges – a big shout out to the IMU students and staff! As the year ends and a new one begins, we look back at the highlights of 2021, the year that has been so eventful.
Entering the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, IMU staff and students were constantly making adjustments and adaptations to the new normal. As the pandemic continues to strike us, our spirit to contribute to the community did not wane. Through this, we are emerging stronger to move forward with our missions and vision to serve the community.
This year, we continued to serve as a platform for the staff and students to engage in the community activities aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG). With this mission in mind, let us bring our spirits forward to welcome 2022, a new year with new challenges, driving social change fora more sustainable future. Below are some highlights of the year.
Leave No One Behind: Building Healthcare Professionals for the Refugee Communities
Since 2018, IMU Cares have been focusing on uplifting the health and wellbeing of refugee communities in Malaysia. This year our support continues with a different twist, despite having the longest COVID-19 lockdown, by conducting 14 webinars related to child health for healthcare professionals who serve the refugee communities under UNHCR. Over 350 participants involving doctors and medical students participated in these webinars which were throughout the year.
COVID-19: You Are Not Alone in this Battle
In response to the surge of COVID-19 positive cases early this year, we continued to help bring relief to the country’s healthcare system by producing 450 of our very own 3-D printed face shields, donating facemasks, hand sanitizers and others to hospitals in Klang Valley.
Together with our community partners, over thousands of lunch packs were provided for the frontliners as well as to communities in need. Being healthcare professionals, we are proud that over 500 IMU students and staff volunteered in the National Vaccination Programme in 8 PKDs and CACs to help combat COVID-19.
Pulse of the Community: Breaching the Silence
With the goal to become a deaf aware university, more than 50 students and alumni were successfully trained in the Malaysian Basic Sign Language. They are our “IMU Ambassadors For the Deaf (IAM4D) to bridge the gap between the Deaf and Hearing communities, and to propel us forward to achieve our ultimate goal.
They created social media awareness campaigns through Facebook https://www.facebook.com/imucares and Instagram to spread awareness to the general public
Empowerment Programmes for Community Leadership Social Entrepreneurship/ Social Innovation
With the goal of nurturing our students on social entrepreneurship (SE) and social innovation (SI) to create sustainable solutions to address social issues, we organised a four- day SESI bootcamp for students. Due to the pandemic, this was held as a virtual bootcamp over two weekends which culminated on IMU’s first Social Innovation Day 2021 where these students pitched their crafted social entrepreneurship/social action ideas. To date 352 staff and students have participated in the bootcamps.
Active Citizen Programme
Recognising the importance of being change makers, we organised for students to partake in the annual Active Citizenship (AC) program where students are trained to take action on the issues that matter to them. The AC program is conducted in collaboration with British Council and Social Enterprise Academy (SEA).
Talloires Network Leadership Conference (TNLC 2021) in Boston, USA
The pandemic had curtailed many physical activities but, in return, it offered us the opportunity to engage beyond the geographical barriers. An outstanding highlight of the year was TNLC2021, organised by Tufts University in collaboration with Harvard Kennedy School, Institute of Politics, USA. The four- day conference on “Global Institutions, Local Impact: Power and Responsibility of Engaged Universities” involved a total of 37 delegates and facilitators from IMU.
IMU was the only university in the Asia region who was awarded the Engaged University Grant 2021 to facilitate and host the conference remotely at IMU and was the only university representing Malaysia. It was a most eye-opening meeting, to put it simply, where all the participants across the globe were able to bond and learn from each other about our various roles in our communities. Due to the time difference, IMU students and facilitators were up every night throughout the conference, from 8pm to 2am.
“It made me aware of how youths can have a big impact, no matter where we come from, all it takes is just for us to take initiatives and always think positively and innovatively in times of crisis.”
— Yang Xing Zhi, IMU Student, Delegate of TNLC 2021
Being thrown into real-life environment, challenges one to think outside the box, so to speak, and to draw on larger perspectives to solve a local problem. This was just what Community Engagement had provided in a “Challenge-based Learning in the Community” workshop where faculty participants learnt how this pedagogical approach is used where students learn to engage in a situation that is real, relevant and related to their environment, to define challenges and develop solutions using wider lenses.
All Hearts and Hands: Big Floods of 2021
We approached the end of the year with torrential rains lashing across the country causing catastrophic floods and displacing thousands of families and individuals. On a call for volunteers, we had an overwhelming response from IMU staff and students to help pack essential items donated by the IMU Humanitarian Fund as well as cash and item donations received from our generous IMU citizens. Working together with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, OKU Sentral, MERCY Malaysia as well as Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat, these items were sent off and airlifted to more than 300 families in the Klang Valley.
Food aid was also given to the Orang Asli communities in Kg Bongkok and Kg Serting, near Gambang, in Pahang – these villages are situated near swampy areas and were affected by the floods. In the aftermath of the floods IMU organised medical help and cleanup with the flood-affected communities.
Prof Dr Zabidi Hussin, our Pro Vice Chancellor Academic and Pediatric Specialist with his wife Dr Kamaliah together with others from the university, volunteered in a health check-up mission organised together with MERCY Malaysia, for flood affected victims stationed at a school in Cyberjaya.
Students and staff from the clinical campus helped to clean up SMA Kuala Klawang in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan which was a washout due to the floods. As citizens of IMU, we are proud to be able to rise up as a university community to give to a nation in need. We are very humbled witnessing humanity in action.
Moving Forward 2022: Towards a Sustainable Community Development
We hope that IMU continues to grow as the “Pulse of the Community” where IMU works together with the community, for the community and growing together to form sustainable and impactful partnerships in the new year to come.
Moving Forward 2022: Towards a Sustainable Community Development
Written by Dr Leong Hui Yen, Community Engagement