Persidangan Pembangunan Pelajar Peringkat Kebangsaan 2008 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 22-23Oktober 2008

Integrating the principles of sustainable development among human resource: The case of USM graduates
Marimuthu P.Ratnam a,, Roslan Kamarudin b, Nazru Hj. Ismail c

Students Affairs & Development Division, USM

The sustainable of the organization dependent upon its employees who adopt sustainable development principles as part of their human philosophy. Therefore producing students with the principles of

sustainable is an essential task for many education institutions especially for the public universities in Malaysia. This paper investigates how Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has integrated the principles of sustainable development into its co-curriculum activities. The possibility of the designed co-curriculum activities toward producing human resources with sustainable development principles were discussed in the paper. The findings of this study will be important for education institutions since it can provide information on how the co-curriculum activities can be designed to establish the principles of sustainable development among the students for the formation of sustainable organization.

Keywords: sustainable development principles, students


The first United Nation’s World

levels. According to the United Nations (1992) in 36th Chapter of Agenda 21, “Education is important for promoting sustainable

Summit on Sustainable Development took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the recent largest Summit on Sustainable Development occurred in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 26September 4, 2002. sustainable Through out the years issues has been

development and improving the capacity of people to address environment and development issues.” Therefore, considering the universality mission statement, the 39th years old Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has focuses its


commitment and responsibility to the element of sustainability by integrating sustainable

discussed never ending at the local at global


Persidangan Pembangunan Pelajar Peringkat Kebangsaan 2008 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 22-23Oktober 2008

operations, policy and practices for its long term achievement by making the university a

time should promise to protect and enhance opportunities for future. Extending in this area, sustainable Human Resource is divine as a process of managing all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological

microcosm of the outside world inline with the concept of being a “University in a Garden” from year 2003. In relation to this objective, USM always embrace ecological protection, conservation of resources and human

development in all its three campuses: main campus in Penang, engineering campus in Nibong Tebal and health campus in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.

diversity and life support systems. (WTO, 2001). According to Ahlberg (2004), the education core of sustainable development is ability,

competence, expertise, intelligence, creativity,




and wisdom. Ahlberg (2004), in the first tentative theory of education, claimed that the most central concept in Education for

development and sustainable human resource
The most common definition of sustainable development is proposed in World Commission on Environment report released during the 1987. The definition is as below:

Sustainable development is integrating different aspects of sustainable development in thinking and acting because it is linked to other development concept as how it is illustrated in Figure 1.

“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”





Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is

The idea of sustainable centers on a holistic integration of economic, environmental and socio-cultural development. Sustainable development is accessed as a more responsible and balanced form of development. These

aware about the sustainable human resource development. The effort for transforming USM students to be a sustainable human resource, has started in early 2001. USM begin to rigorously pursued and expended in order to ensure the campus produces human capital as the seeds of social transformation that is sustainable among staffs and students. The endeavor on the understanding Ahlberg’s theory that the

development should allows the protection of natural resources and the environment while permitting it to be exploited in order to secure continued economic growth over the years. In other word, sustainable development should meets he needs of the people but at the same

education is the key to change unsustainable lifestyle and mindset strictly took place.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students were


Persidangan Pembangunan Pelajar Peringkat Kebangsaan 2008 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 22-23Oktober 2008

provided with learning tools and opportunities in the real world environment to integrate

difficult issues of imagining and encouraging a sustainable future. In order to insure that the projects are related to the represent sustainable development the Hannover sustainable principles are considered. These principles are adopted and modified from the "The Hannover Principles" which were designed in year 1992 for EXPO 2000 in Hannover to insure sustainable

knowledge and concepts of sustainability to local practices, applications and solutions. As mentioned above, USM has been designing sustainable projects since 2001, so since then the projects hosting with a great challenges and a great responsibility towards sustainable human resource. All the projects choose “Humanity, Nature, and Technology as the theme for transforming for ‘sustainable tomorrow’. Ideally, humanity has redefined itself, its placement in nature and refines the role of technology within the environment. USM has decided to directly and continuously address the

development of the city, region, and world (William McDonough & Partners, 1992). These principles shared seen as a living document committed to the transformation and growth in the understanding sustainable development

values growth among students.

Environmental Programme

Educated for Sustainable Development


Integrating different aspects of sustainable development in thinking and acting

Ecologically sustainable development

Socially sustainable development

Culturally sustainable development

Economically sustainable development

Figure 1. Ahlberg’s (2004) first tentative theory of what is central in Education for Sustainable Development. The most central concept in this concept map is ‘integrating different aspects of sustainable development in thinking and acting’.


Persidangan Pembangunan Pelajar Peringkat Kebangsaan 2008 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 22-23Oktober 2008

The sustainable principles
1. Insight on rights of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse and sustainable condition. 2. Recognize interdependence. The 9.

practice resources.





Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge. Encourage direct and open communication between

elements of human design interact with and depend upon the natural world, with brand diverse implications as every scale. Expand design consideration to recognizing even distant effects 3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter. Consider all aspects of human settlement including community,



administration, and users to link long terms sustainable considerations with ethical responsibility and re-establish the integral relationships between

natural processes and human activities.
Source: William McDonough & Partners (1992).

dwelling, industry and trade in term of existing between and evolving and connection material






Universiti Sains Malaysia through The Students Affairs and Development Division and other respective departments in USM are constantly integrating the core principles and practical of ecology from the perspective of human consciousness. Students have been learning the Law of Nature evolved the system for miraculous complexity of life. There are plenty of opportunities for the students in USM to profound their experience and increasing their awareness through involving in activities

consciousness. 4. Accept responsibility for the

consequences of activities upon human well-being. The violability of natural system and their right to co-exit. 5. Create safe objects of long value. Do not burden future generations with requirements vigilant for maintenance of or



danger due to the careless creation of products, processes or standards. 6. Eliminate the concept of waste.

Evaluate and optimize the full life-cycle of products and process, to approach the state of natural systems, in which there is no waste. 7. Rely a natural energy flows. Human design should, like the living world, derive their creative forces. 8. Understand the limitations of resource. These who create and plan should

organized in the university which can directly linked to sustainable development. The

examples of activities are discussed as below:


The White Coffin Campaign- This is the latest campaign in a series of studentcentered activities. The white coffin (referring to the white container made from polystyrene)


Persidangan Pembangunan Pelajar Peringkat Kebangsaan 2008 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 22-23Oktober 2008

campaign was launched though the Healthy Campus Programme and

the concept of waste, understand the limitations of resources and provide insights on rights of humanity and nature.

sustained by the students themselves. In this campaign students are encouraged to take the lead against the use of polystyrene (a petrochemical material widely used in food containers for take away food) on campus. The ultimate goal of this campaign is to develop a deeper students’ understanding of c)

The Tree Planting Project- In USM, ‘tree planting’ has become an annual activity during the orientation week of newly admitted students. About 600 trees including several varieties of local fruits are being planted yearly in all the three campus of USM. Through this




such as created insight on rights of humanity and nature besides accepting responsibility for the consequences of activities upon human well being. In this campaign the student are being educated about the danger of using polystyrene containers. USM students now have agreed to bring their own food containers or to use bi-degradable containers to pack their food. The campaign is now being emulated by other universities in Malaysia. d)

green activity, sustainable principles such as insight on rights of humanity and nature are implemented.

Earth Hour and Earth Day- As a measure of global concern, USM participated in events such as the Earth Hour 2008 on 28 March as an awareness exercise to save energy for an hour worldwide. USM also

celebrates the World Earth Day on 22 April 2008. This activity managed to


The Campus- Wide Recycling ProjectThis project aim to raise the awareness of students on recycling as one of the important elements in environment sustainability. programme, Throughout many students this and





among the students about how to rely on natural energy flows, eliminate the concept of waste, understand the

limitation of resources besides learn to seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge.

university staff were exposed and trained on how to recycle products such as paper, cloth, and promote the activities among the entire campus community including e-wastes. This activity attempts to implement e)

Sustainable Health Programmes- A series of activities carried out in USM by various centers on issues pertaining to dangers of drug abuse, anti smoking and prevention of doping in sports in

sustainable principles such as eliminate


Persidangan Pembangunan Pelajar Peringkat Kebangsaan 2008 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 22-23Oktober 2008

campus. This activity is important to provide insight on rights of humanity and nature is implemented.


Students able to determine the role of sustainable human resources in the structure of societies, work and live.


Students understand the important of obey the Natural Law and adjusting work and to avoid nature conflicts.


The reflect of sustainability

activities in the formation of human resource
The students’ involvement on sustainable activities noted as important to the facilitation the goal of sustainable development in an organization where the graduate will be attached (Beard and Rees, 2000). It is believed that the introduction of sustainable principles among the students at the tertiary education institution can help to form sustainable human resource. The sustainable team also is useful to generate ideas, enhance learning experience, explore issues, identify conflict and focus action to practicable environmental options (Beard and Rees, 2000). This sustainable human resource may able to ensure sustainable development in the country and global level for future. The rationale is by accessing or involving students on sustainable adventure activities at university level will motivate them to explore the sustainable development values by understanding the

Students understand how to condition workforce change on the base of sustainability


Based on that perception, the USM

authorities believe that those students who involve in the sustainable activities and adopt sustainable development principles will become sustainable human resource. Nowadays, more employees and organizations are concerning the sustainability issues in the business and aiming for maximizing the economic and social benefits by integrating sustainable operations, policy and practice for long term. So, there are bright futures for sustainable human resource to contribute to the ecology and society but they can equally contribute to the economical development of the country and world.

sustainable diversity such as below:

1. Students can learn how to maximize the use and continuously involve in C. Beard, Environment awareness training: three ideas for greening the company culture. Eco-Management and Auditing, 3(4) (1996) pp.139-46 C. Beard & S. Rees, Green teams and the management of environmental change in a UK county council. Environmental

sustainable development activities. 2. Students have deep experience of consciousness to the power and majesty of nature.


Persidangan Pembangunan Pelajar Peringkat Kebangsaan 2008 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 22-23Oktober 2008

Management and Health, 11 (1) (2000) pp. 27-38 C. Jurowski & J. Liburd, A multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary approach to integrating the principles of sustainable development into human resource management curriculums in hospitality and tourism. Result of the Business Enterprise for Sustainable Travel Education Network Conference, 2004 Dzulkifili Abdul Razak & Ramli Mohamed (Eds). Transforming Higher Education for a sustainable Tomorrow. Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, 2008. J. Moxen, P. Strachan, Managing Green Teams: Theory and Practice, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, 1998 M. Ahlberg, Education for Sustainable Development: Theoretical underpinings and practical methods, 2004. (manuscript) Public Relations Office, USM Prospectus, Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, 2008. Student Affairs and Development Division USM, Student Guidance Book , Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, 2008. United Nations, Agenda 21: The United Nations programme og action for sustainable development. Rio Declaration on Enviroment and Development. New York: United Nations, 1992. Universiti Sains Malaysia Website. W. McDonough . The Hannover Principles, Design for Sustainability Prepared for EXPO 2000 The World’s Fair Hannover, Germany Germany, 1992 World Commision on Environment, Our Common Future, London: Oxford University Press, 1987 WTO doc. WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1, 20 November 2001, para. 1.