Volunteering is a great way to enhance one's skills and give back to the community. With this thought in mind, nearly 100 participants from the ASEAN region took part in the Regional Conference on Student Activism (RECONSA) 2018.
This year the event was organised by Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) in collaboration with Students Volunteer Foundation, a wholly owned entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, and Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organisation (MAPIM).
Participating institutions included Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember Indonesia, Yangon University of Education Myanmar, International Islamic University Malaysia and UTP.
First held in 2012, RECONSA is an annual event that provides opportunities for students and volunteers to share their ideas, views, and experiences on volunteerism as an effective way of making a difference in the world.
It featured two notable speakers in volunteerism, Tony Tay and Mohd Hakim Mohd Nor. Tony, a Singaporean, was the winner of the 2017 Philippines Ramon Magsaysay award. He was also the founder of a volunteer group providing hot meals to the poor, Willing Hearts.
The second speaker, Mohd Hakim is no stranger to UTP. A UTP alumni, he graduated with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2009. He is currently the Secretary General of Welfare Organisation Serantau Muslim and the recipient of Hang Tuah Award at the Malay and Islamic World Convention in Medan, Indonesia.
Themed "Student Activism: Going Beyond the Future", RECONSA focuses on mobilising volunteerism using sustainable futuristic strategies to effectively deliver the voices of global activist networks that emphasise on three critical elements namely technology, efficient governance, and maximisation of resources.
UTP Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib said UTP aspires to develop graduates who are not only creative and innovative but who are also responsible global citizens actively involved in improving the lives of the surrounding community, especially those closer to the university.
"The university is proud to witness the tremendous impact that RECONSA has created since its establishment, as more and more students from diverse background have become more involved in volunteering and making a difference in people's lives," he said.
During RECONSA 2018, participants presented their papers on various areas that included health and environment, consumerism, social, humanitarian, religions, gender, science and technology. They also went for a tour around the campus and selected locations at Perak and took part in a corporate social responsibility program at MRSM Parit.