More than 400 students and staff from 27 schools around the United Arab Emirates, along with representatives from industry and government as well as students and faculty members from American University of Sharjah (AUS), attended the popular annual Environmental Day 2019 held at AUS on April 18. Organized by the university’s Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with the AUS Office of Enrollment Management, this year’s event theme was “The Energy of Science.”
The event plays an important part in underlining the institution’s long-term commitment to promoting sustainability awareness and introducing students to the wide variety of high-impact careers in the sciences through the environmental sector. It also highlights the much sought after AUS Bachelor of Science degree programs in biology, chemistry and environmental sciences.
Welcoming the students to the event, Dr. Juan Sanchez, Provost and Chief Academic Officer of AUS, said:
“This is a very important day that focuses on significant issues, most prominent is the protection of the environment. This has become an existential issue that requires our attention and I am glad to know that you are focused on it. Thank you for caring to protect the environment and I wish you a fun and knowledge-filled day.”
Environmental Day this year saw high school students participate in a wide variety of activities that included seminars by prominent speakers from the UAE environmental sector; live demos; student competitions; students and attendees posters display; interactive activities; and exhibits by prominent industrial and governmental groups and agencies.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said:
“It is a pleasure to see our annual Environmental Day go from strength to strength each year. The popularity of this event can be evidenced from the fact that there is a great increase in the number of students attending the event this year as compared to last year. As one of the leading universities in the region, AUS is committed to spreading awareness of environmental and sustainability issues.”
Ali Shuhaimy, Executive Director of Enrollment Management at AUS, welcomed the participants to AUS and briefed them about the various undergraduate programs offered at the university as well as its extensive campus facilities. He also informed them about the university’s decision to offer merit-based scholarships to qualified incoming students that amount to between 20 to 50 percent of the tuition. He also encouraged them to take the time out to tour the campus and interact with students currently enrolled in the biology, chemistry and environmental sciences programs.
The event, which was sponsored by the Chalhoub Group, EGA, and Bee’ah, saw many prominent corporate names participate in the activities. While officials from the Chalhoub Group and Bee’ah delivered special lectures, Wacker Chemicals Middle East presented the benefits of the Model House Project launched in collaboration with Dubai Central Laboratories (DCL) to deliver sustainable green solutions and safer environment in the region; Del Monte Foods shared their sustainability programs at both on the local and global level; and Alliance Global (AGBL Labs) presented their courses on life sciences career options for high school students, as well as courses on molecular biology, genomics and NGS-Bioinformatics designed for university students and researchers.
The event ended with the announcement of the day’s competitions winners. Three competitions took place during the event. The first competition involved AUS students creating a poster about important scientists in history. Fareha Khan and Muhammad Alvi were declared winners in this competition, with Farah Elhosseiny and Zahra Jawaad Khan winning second and third place respectively. The second competition was targeted towards high school students creating a poster highlighting their school’s efforts towards sustainability. The Philippine Global School won first place with Philadelphia Private School being declared runners-up. Sharjah American International School—Sharjah Branch and The New Filipino Private School won honorable mentions in the competition. Finally, the third competition consisted of a two-round science quiz and Environmental Jeopardy. This was won by The Indian High School, Dubai, with GEMS Modern Academy—Dubai coming second and Cambridge International School, Dubai, winning third place.