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American University of Sharjah announces new student sustainability leaders
American University of Sharjah (AUS) has a proud tradition of naming a new cohort of student sustainability leaders each academic year, known as EcoReps. The EcoReps for the 2023–2024 academic year are: Amal Haneef, majoring in English language and literature; Jawaad Sheikh, majoring in mechanical engineering; Sameera Khan, majoring in environmental sciences; and Aamuktha Samrajyam, majoring in chemical engineering.
"The AUS EcoRep program is our most impactful initiative to engage AUS students in sustainability and climate action. Every year we hire four students with a diverse range of backgrounds and train them on our key strategic priorities, such as energy, waste, health and diversity. Throughout their tenure, these EcoRep students engage with their peers through a series of events and campaigns to promote awareness and behavior change on campus. With COP28 taking place in the UAE later this year, we are excited to train our EcoReps in climate action and the COP process, and let them lead the various climate education initiatives on campus,” explains Acting AUS Head of Sustainability, Julia Carlow.
EcoReps are students with a desire to promote sustainable change on campus. EcoReps educate their student peers on issues such as waste reduction, energy conservation, diversity and tolerance. Through guest speakers, events and outings, EcoReps deepen their own understanding of how to create a more sustainable campus and become better advocates for environmental action.
“I aim to show that even small changes in our daily lives, such as reducing single-use plastic or supporting local and sustainable food options, can have a significant positive impact on our environment,” said Haneef.
With COP28 being held in the UAE later this year, the role of EcoRep holds particular importance for this academic year, with the university involved in many sustainability-related initiatives in the lead up to COP28. The EcoReps will be involved in passing on information about COP28 to students.
The students chosen to be EcoReps look forward to furthering their own understanding of sustainability issues and leading positive environmental change in their communities.
“To me, sustainability transcends mere linguistic trends; it embodies a dynamic philosophy that emboldens my proactive engagement in shaping our world. Rather than waiting for others to take the lead, I see our team as the architect of this transformation, armed with a unique arsenal of abilities to ignite a potent wave of positive change,” said Sheikh.
The EcoReps also have plans for how they will encourage more sustainable practices among their peers.
“To stimulate sustainable thinking, it is essential that we first experience an ecologically sound lifestyle—a lifestyle that demands knowledge and motivation. These are the two key ingredients that I would like to intensify in the recipe for shaping sustainable mindsets on our campus,” said Samrajyman.
For Khan, the EcoRep program is all about gaining and transferring knowledge that will further sustainable outcomes.
“At AUS, I have had the opportunity and privilege to learn from not only the faculty, but the staff, my friends and other students. As an EcoRep, I hope to pass on the knowledge I learn to others, and be a medium for students, staff and faculty who would like to make a difference in this world,” said Khan.
To learn more about the EcoRep program, please visit www.aus.edu/sustainability/our-vision/our-ecoreps.