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AUS Environmental Day raises awareness of important regional and global issues
Hundreds of students and teachers from schools across the UAE gathered at American University of Sharjah (AUS) to participate in the Environmental Day 2017, organized by the university's Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. The theme of this year's event, which was held in the Main Building on campus, was "Moving Towards a Sustainable Environment" and reflected AUS's long-term commitment to promoting and creating a sustainable environment.
Known for its interesting interactive displays and exhibits, the event aims to promote awareness of local, regional and global environmental and sustainability issues among high school students as well as introduce them to exciting careers in the field of environmental sciences be they in government, industry or academic sectors. The event also highlights the AUS Bachelor of Science degree programs in biology, chemistry and environmental sciences.
A wide range of activities that included live demos, sustainability posters and environmental competitions, posters, videos and creative art demos as well as lectures and seminars by prominent speakers, were held during the day-long event. Addressing the students and teachers during the opening session, Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), welcomed them to AUS and said that their presence on campus is responsible for making the event a success. "The rapid urbanization of the environment needs to be studied constantly in order to avoid changing and damaging the environment significantly. Ultimately, the environmental science studies that we offer at AUS and community awareness events like this are necessary to help save and sustain the environment," he said.
The opening session was also addressed by Ali Shuhaimy, Executive Director for Enrollment Management, AUS; Dr. James Gannon, Head of the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences; and Dr. Fatin Samara, Chairperson of the Environmental Day Committee.
"Sustainability and environmental awareness are extremely important topics. The main goal of an event such as this is to increase awareness of environmental issues and to create an interest in science among the youth who are going to become our future leaders and scientists," said Dr. Samara.
The event also featured am engaging talk by Dr. Majid Sultan Al Qasimi, Director, Animal Health and Development Department, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Dr. Al Qasimi shared his professional journey with the audience, explaining how he had worked in several positions before becoming a director in the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. His message to the students was not to limit themselves and to make the most of the abundance of job opportunities a degree in environmental sciences provides.
Delivering the second talk of the day, Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Deputy Director General, Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF, Dubai, UAE, briefed the audience about her organization and the important role it plays in spreading awareness of environmental and sustainability issues. "At EWS-WWF, we work on many topics including climate change and energy, marine conservation, terrestrial conservation, as well as illegal wildlife trade," she said.
"The challenge is in living in harmony with nature. We must realize we are part of the solution as well," she added. She also shared ways that audience members could contribute towards a sustainable environment that included reducing their water and electricity consumption, reducing waste, reconnecting with nature, and educating themselves and supporting local conservation efforts.
The event concluded with the announcement of the winners of the day's competitions. These were:
AUS Environmental Awareness Poster
- First place winner: Alejandra O'Connor
- Second place winner: Lojain Halawa
- Third place winner: Nadien Majeed
AUS Environmental Awareness Video
- First place winner: "E-waste Awareness in UAE"; Team members: Abdelrahman Albuqaish, Saeed AlAli, Khamis AlAli, Hamdan AlMarr, Haya Alzaabi
- Second place winner: "Lights off DXB"; Team members: Yasmeen Arnous, Dayana Shabazyan, Nouf Abdulhadi, Darin AlShmeri
Items Made With Recyclable Items Competition
- First place winner: Nour Safieh
- Second place winner: Rawdha Saeed Al Qassimi
- Third place winner: Team members: Omnia Nael Saleh, Mohammed Shashaa
High School Competitions
Sustainable Schools Poster
- First place winner: Al Sadiq Islamic English School, Dubai
- Second place winner: Philadelphia Private School, Dubai
- Third place winner: Liwa International School, Al Ain
Environmental Jeopardy/Quiz Competition
- First place winner: GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai
- Second place winner: Abu Dhabi Indian School, Abu Dhabi (Boys School)
- Third place winner: Abu Dhabi Indian School, Abu Dhabi (Girls School)
The event was also attended by representatives from Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF; Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, Papers Worldwide, Integrated Scientific Solutions, and Emirates Environmental Group, Environmental Agency of Abu Dhabi-Sustainable Campus Initiative, among others.