Promoting Youth Volunteerism and Social Activism

DISTED’s Community CONNECT initiative to instill an “altruistic and volunteering mindset for socially meaningful actions” received a big boost when students and lecturers turned up for a presentation by iM4U Outreach Centre.

The presentation by Mr Zulzainizam Aman, the Manager of iM4U Outreach Centre was organised by DISTED Library as part of its ‘Chill out @ DISTED Library” programme in November.
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Mr Zulzainizam Aman giving an introduction of iM4U Outreach Centre.

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School of Hospitality lecturer Nurul Nadia Mohamad (in beige top) leading a healthy discourse.

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iM4U is a non-profit organisation that identifies itself as the “go to group when it comes to volunteering”.

Mr Zulzainizam spoke on how iM4U can assist in nurturing and cultivating youth volunteerism and social activism through the DRe1M (Dana Sukarelawan 1Malaysia) Fund.

“Malaysian youths can be inspired to plan and implement volunteering and nation building activities through this platform to benefit communities and social groups. The iM4U Outreach Centre network leverages its vast network of educational and youth-related organisations to enable iM4U to support projects that have local and nationwide impacts,” he elaborated.

There are seven categories of projects supported by iM4U – youth development projects; social enterprise activities; community wellbeing services; sport events; arts, culture and innovation projects; environment projects and spirituality and religious projects.

In his presentation, Mr Zulzainizam highlighted among many successful projects a ‘War on Dengue’ project which was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Malaysia. He also introduced the audience to iM4U 107.9 fm, a youth-oriented radio station that was created to generate revenue to support iM4U operations as well as to publicise all activities and programmes.

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DISTED students engaged in discussion.

Members of the DISTED community who are interested can apply for the DRe1M fund through the website www.im4u.my. They should submit a full project proposal including the budget via email one month before the event launch in order to allow the iM4U committee to evaluate the project and its outcomes. A project proposal template is also provided for the convenience of applicants. Successful applicants are required to provide a report and photos or videos of the activities upon its completion. In addition, iM4U also offers assistance and advice for applicants who do not qualify for the support.

Youths can stay connected with iM4U and get the latest updates from their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube and its website www.im4u.my. Communication is also done via WhatsApp and SMS.

According to Ms Nurul Nadia Mohamad, Lecturer at DISTED School of Hospitality, “Financial resources is a main concern when organising events and iM4U has provided a good platform for our students as they had to organise the events by themselves as part of their academic curriculum.”

School of Business Programme Coordinator Ms Gwee Sai Ling found the talk very informative, “I will certainly get our students to choose this avenue for future volunteer projects.”

Thinakkaaran Thamilchelvam, Vice-President of DISTED’s Student Representative Council found the talk very enlightening. “iM4U provides support that benefits both sides as the youth can discover and explore their skills and also contribute back to the society.”

Fairunizan Akbar Malik, DISTED Librarian, said the talk had helped identify a new partner and mentor for volunteer projects.

It is hoped that new projects will be developed for the coming year, with active participation from the DISTED student community in iM4U to support its vision of being Malaysia’s leading youth volunteer community.

Auspicious celebration to mark significant milestones

DISTED College recently held an auspicious celebration to mark two significant milestones – the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Finnish institution of higher learning HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences (HAAGA-HELIA), and the official opening of SPACE, DISTED’s new student residence.

The MoU, signed on 1st November in the presence of guests which included YB Chow Kon Yeow, Chairman of DISTED College Board of Directors Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Honorary Consul of Finland Dato’ Poh Kim Seng, spells out collaborative activities and joint efforts that will contribute to cultural enrichment and scientific progress for both institutions. These include exchange programmes involving students, faculty and staff; transnational education experience study tours; collaborative research and development projects; collaborative development of educational programmes; lectures, seminars and workshops; and exchange of academic information and materials.

The agreement will also pave the way for the establishment of a Finnish Degree Transfer Programme – the first of its kind – in Malaysia. Significantly, the MoU establishes an articulation protocol for students between DISTED and HAAGA-HELIA. For students at DISTED, the articulation arrangement will enable its students to pursue a diploma programme locally, and then proceed to a HAAGA-HELIA degree programme either locally or at the HAAGA-HELIA campus in Finland.

“This collaboration will enable us to tap into the vast pool of expertise and strengths of both institutions to generate new knowledge, innovation and intellectual property. We are honoured to be collaborating with an institution renowned for its teaching excellence and top quality research in business and service,” said Dr Seah Soo Aun, President and CEO of DISTED College.

He also reiterated DISTED’s commitment in ensuring that students receive not only the best education, but also the best facilities, care and support in the form of conducive living and study environment at SPACE, the Student Residence.
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Dr Seah Soo Aun giving his speech before the signing of the MoU.

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Mr Pasi Halmari, Programme Manager from HAAGA-HELIA addressing the audience.

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“HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences has strong traditions – our oldest campus was established over 120 years ago. These days, HAAGA-HELIA maintains a close and special relationship with businesses in Finland and internationally,” explained Jouni Ahonen, Project Director.

Dr Seah Soo Aun signing for DISTED College and Mr Jouni Ahonen signing on behalf of HAAGA-HELIA University.

 He added, “Our educational programmes are based on real-life business situations and the quality – as in Finnish education generally – is strongly emphasized in our operations. We are sure that these features will bring benefits to Malaysian students and look forward to excellent cooperation with DISTED College.”

In his speech, YB Chow said that the partnership with HAAGA-HELIA will provide a strong catalyst for DISTED in its efforts to be at the forefront of higher education in the country and in the region.

“DISTED’s strategic location in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand growth triangle is ideal in positioning Penang as a regional hub for post-secondary education and tertiary education. I hope that today’s events will set DISTED College on the global educational map and signify the start of many more international initiatives to come,” he elaborated.

On the official opening of SPACE, YB Chow commended DISTED’s decision for having the DISTED Student Residence situated at Lebuh King, as it coincides with efforts to breathe life into the inner George Town area. The opening of SPACE was marked by a symbolic cutting of ribbons by YB Chow, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, Chairman of Sunyield Venture Sdn Bhd Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng and Dr Seah Soo Aun.

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YB Chow Kon Yeow signing on the SPACE commemorative plaque witnessed by (from left) Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Dr Seah Soo Aun.

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YB Chow cutting the pavlova cake specially prepared by the Paul Loiis Cafe.

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SPACE is currently home to over 100 local and international students coming from as far as China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Russia.

The auspicious occasion celebrating the two milestones was also marked with a high-energy lion dance performance to signify blessings, good fortune and well wishes. The ceremony culminated with YB Chow cutting a specially prepared cake at the Paul Loiis Café, operated by one of DISTED’s alumnus.