Understanding reality of sustainability institution

By Sarah Rashdi

Imagine pushing yourself and breaking the limit, pouring all of the effort to produce an outstanding project and then receiving the world’s recognition. Definitely, hard work pays off.

First in Asia and the world

History has witnessed every bit of glorious moment, IIUM announced as the sustainability institution of the year, representing Asia and the world as the first Islamic university to received the recognition. The journey towards success is the hidden thing that only a handful people could sense it.

Unfolding the meaning of winning this prestigious award, the Rector of IIUM, Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abd Razak, noted that it was a tough rivalry among existing contestants including those in Australia, United Kingdom, Latin America and United Arab Emirates. This victory proved that IIUM has set its own standard and has obtained the ability to create projects that could serve as the medium to provide direct learning and experience to the students, staff and civilians.

Symbolic of the Green Gown Awards

Revealing the metaphoric tale of Green Gown Awards, the gown represents the convocation robe while the green symbolise environmental sustainability. Hence, winning this award holds a connotation of responsibility as it modelled the university as an icon of sustainability institution, influencing others to emphasise the value of sustainability. The holistic approach taken to transform the whole institution which successfully creates a community that prioritises this value the most.

The Rector also stressed that cooperation from all involved parties including all the departments, kulliyyah(s) and faculties holding the main key of success in producing this high quality project, leaving the impact that slowly grows its root on people’s mind and attitudes while presenting the sustainability values to a broader perspective.

Injected the value of maqasid syariah

The image of Islamic university influences the original idea that is moulded on the basis of Islamic worldview. The decision to inject the value of maqasid syariah in the project creates new seeds growing in the context of sustainability that illustrates the standard level of understanding for the IIUM community, particularly in studying. The ulterior motive of maqasid syariah is to give protection to humanity and to revitalise the quality type of life for a more conducive environment.

Putting sustainability dynamically in line with maqasid syariah shows compatibility. For instance, using the water from a dirty river might threaten the lives and health while enhancing the quality of the river, assuring it cleanliness could benefit the people. Hence, it applies in the protection of life from maqasid syariah which is the most essential value.

The Rector attributes this interpretation of maqasid syariah as the essence of transformation for the university that natures in long-term orientation. IIUM is presenting something unique to the world because it has taken the holistic approach, involving the variation of dimension and injected the Islamic worldview in producing the different standard of project in the competition.

Presenting excellent work to the world

Miss Hilligje van’t Land, the Secretary General of International Association of University shared that the International Green Gown Awards aims to search for quality, not quantity, and IIUM seems to possess the value by producing a project that included a holistic coverage of sustainability in all aspects of life.

“The Green Gown Awards did not intend to measure the research productivity or impact, it is not about structural student-staff ratio, it is not looking at the number of international students. It is not about the proportion of international faculty and staff, it is not about funding itself or reputation among academics and employers but it is really about university’s commitment very strongly at heart with this global agenda of sustainable development, and how the university helps transform the world to make it a better place for everyone to live in,” she added.

She also expressed that she was pleased with the quality presented by IIUM. The excellent work that IIUM introduced to the world and taking an approach towards the difference not only locally but globally as well are worth to be awarded as the Sustainability Institution of 2020.***

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