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AUS Environmental Day 2022 presented science solutions to achieve SDGs
Held under the theme “Science Solutions to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals,” Environmental Day 2022 saw 300 school and university students’ participation. The annual event, sponsored by Chalhoub Group and Petrofac, promotes environmental and sustainability awareness, as well as introduces high school students to the biology, chemistry and environmental sciences degree programs at AUS and the high-impact careers these degrees can lead to in the environmental sustainability sector.
AUS Environmental Day 2022 was organized by the Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences Department (BCE), with the support of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). BCE students collaborated with the BCE faculty and staff to make this event a great success.
“Practicing sustainability allows students to gain knowledge, explore values and develop an appreciation for the environment. It involves understanding and protecting the relationships between environment, culture and the economy. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide worldwide guidance on addressing global challenges and climate change is included. By teaching students about sustainability and its role in everyday life and industry, we will be graduating educated future generations who provide the path for a sustainable and healthy environment. This contributes to the UAE Net Zero 2050 strategic initiative,” said Dr. Mohamed Abouleish, Associate Professor in Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences and event coordinator.
The virtual event saw the announcement of the Chalhoub Sustainability Tuition Scholarship, which is open to newly admitted students in the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences program of the College of Arts and Sciences at AUS. Recipients of the scholarship will be students who demonstrate academic excellence and exemplify the AUS hallmark traits of honor, integrity, leadership, and service to others.
“Such support from the Industry towards Environmental education is very important and appreciated, as it demonstrates to the young generation the commitment of the industry towards achieving a sustainable environment,” added Dr. Abouleish.
Leading industry representatives also addressed the participants at the event. Dana Dadoush, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Engagement at Chalhoub Group discussed the important role industry leaders play in achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Gregory Ross, Head of Sustainability at Petrofac, also spoke about how the actions of today impact the outcomes of the future, noting consumption habits that are wasteful and detailing steps on how to become agents of positive change and embracing a more sustainable mindset.
To get students thinking about these important issues, a competition was held under the theme “Emerging Issues and Advances in Environmental Health.” The competition required students to produce ideas in response to SDG Goal 12 on responsible consumption and production. Participating high school students were invited to submit a smart idea in video format that aims to solve an everyday problem.
First place went to the team from Al Diyar Private School in Fujairah, with team members Hema Alam, Ana Clara, Mariam Mohammad Allan and Noor Ali. Second place went to the team from Philadelphia Private School in Dubai, comprising students Marina George Farag, Malak Amin Majdalaweieh and Zainab Sheikh Al Ard. Third place went to Darul Huda Islamic School in Al Ain, represented by students Anush Mohammed, Reeha Kadeeja and Devanandha Anil Kumar.
In a competition for AUS students, participants were invited to submit a picture or conceptual idea of a design of their own using reusable materials. A holographic projector suit designed by marketing major Renee Colaco won first place, followed by a bionic arm by Faraj Alajmi [NBA1] in second place. Management major, Mohamed Almazrouei won third place for his poster Merlin’s Laboratory.
“The holographic projector suit is meant to project different digital outfits from its tiny lenses. The idea aims to reduce waste that is generated from the fast fashion industry, eliminate the disparity and unfair pay of artists. I participated in the AUS Environmental Day because it addresses pressing global issues. It was also a great platform to present an idea I had for a while and the competition was the right place to present it,” said Colaco.
A Kahoot quiz competition was also held for parents and school counselors, students and teachers covering a variety of subjects within the field of environmental sciences.
AUS Environmental Day is part of a series of events the university organizes to contribute to sustainable education and action. AUS announced recently that it is currently developing its first comprehensive Climate Action Plan with the goal to reduce the university’s carbon emissions and align with the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative. AUS is widely recognized for its sustainability initiatives and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AUS is the GCC region’s best performing university in AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), having been awarded a Silver rating. In 2020, AUS became the Gulf region’s first university to begin to ban single-use plastics across its campus. Additionally, the university’s Engineering and Sciences Building received a highly sought-after 2 Pearl rating by Estidama, a sustainable development initiative of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. AUS was also the recipient of the Green Audit Award as part of the Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency’s Sustainable Campus Initiative for university students.
To learn more, visit the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences.