KAJANG, 10th January 2018 – Student Representative Council – Townhall Session 2018 was held in Dewan Seri Sarjana (DSS) on the 10th of January from 800pm to 1130pm. Organized by the Student Representative Council (SRC), Townhall Session 2018 aims to inform students of the recent renovations made in Kelompok Cendekiawan and Kelompok Murni and provide students with an outlet to voice out their opinions regarding any issues pertaining to UNITEN so that they may be quickly rectified.
The event featured a few prominent figures of UNITEN management including Prof. Dr. Mohd. Zamri bin Yusoff, Deputy Vice Chancellor of UNITEN, Tn Hj Ruzli bin Zairazi, Director of Student Affairs Center (SAC), En Razif Mohazar bin Ramli, Accommodation Unit Executive, and also En Amar Amjad bin Abdul Wahid, founder of the #KITAUNITEN social movement. The president of UNITEN Student Representative Council (SRC), Roshan Charles Razali served as the moderator of the event.
The highlight of the event was undoubtedly when Prof. Dr. Mohd. Zamri bin Yusoff explained the changes made towards the on-campus accommodation. The renovations are being carried out in four phases, with Phase One, the renovation of Kelompok Cendekiawan and Kelompok Murni being well under way. Phase Two, the renovation of Kelompok Ilmu is expected to begin in March 2018, followed closely by Phase Three which will put Kelompok Amanah out of commission for the duration of the 2017/2018 Special Semester as it undergoes renovations. The fourth and final phase, which will begin at the end of 2018 will focus upon the refurbishment of all lifts in Kelompok Cendekiawan and Kelompok Murni.
As for the renovations made towards Kelompok Cendekiawan and Kelompok Murni, each apartment complex has been upgraded to include rooms of four standards: Premium Single, Deluxe Single, Superior Single and Superior Twin Sharing. All apartments will come with refurbished kitchens, living halls and toilets. Digital lockset systems that will be activated using students’ ID card have also been installed by the main entrance of all apartments.
The Premium Single option comes with a few luxurious upgrades such as a water heater, air-conditioners and new mattresses, bed frames, wardrobes and study tables for each bedroom and also a refrigerator in the dining area. However, students choosing this option are still responsible for their electricity consumption as prepaid electricity cards are still in use. The Deluxe Single options are similar to the Premium Single ones, except they do not come equipped with water heating systems, refrigerators and air-conditioners. The quality of the furniture in Deluxe single rooms are also inferior to those in Premium Single rooms.
Superior Single and Superior Twin Sharing however, will only come with refurbished dining halls, living areas and toilets. The mattresses, wardrobes and study tables have not been replaced. However, bunk beds are no longer in use and have been replaced with single beds in twin sharing rooms. As a side note, a non-negotiable fee of RM20 has been attached to each room for the payment of a monthly cleaning service. The pricing and exclusive images of the new units are as follows:
During the Q&A session, students took the opportunity to present the speakers with difficult questions ranging from high electricity tariffs to accessibility for disabled persons. Questions submitted by students on Twitter were also answered promptly by Skuad Media Uniten. The questions and answers can be viewed on twitter by searching the hashtag #tanyauniten
The event was met with mixed reviews. One attendee, Rayvathi Theivindran, a student currently in Foundation in Engineering praised the refurbishment of each apartment but expressed disappointment towards its implementation as many students were displaced to make way for the renovations and were forced to search for off-campus accommodation with very short notice. Most attendees however, lauded the efforts made by the management to answer their questions truthfully and without hesitation during the questions and answers session.
A second year Electrical Power Engineering student, Heng Peng Hui said: “I really like this Townhall Session as students can voice out their issues and the management can get closer to the students to answer all their questions and to understand their condition. So I think the main purpose has been fulfilled.” However the timing of the event drew intense criticism from the attendees as the event, which was scheduled to start at 730pm only began at 830pm.
Among the other topics discussed during the Townhall Session was the #KITAUNITEN movement. The #KITAUNITEN movement is a social movement that aims to foster unity and diversity, promote student persistence and also create memories among Unitenians. Amar Amjad, the founder of the movement gave a moving speech describing the founding of #KITAUNITEN and explained the goals and motivations behind the movement. To date, more than 250 posts on Facebook, 595 posts on Instagram and 470 tweets on Twitter have used the hashtag #KITAUNITEN since its inception in November 2017.
When asked about his inspiration for #KITAUNITEN, Amar Amjad recalled his own experiences as a freshman in UNITEN and his experience of changing from an introvert to an extrovert. He said: “The reality in UNITEN is that students have little appreciation towards the university. To cater to this problem, I have done researches and concluded that students feel no sense of belonging. A sense of belonging is a qualitative data for students’ persistence.”
He further explained, “Students with a high sense of belonging are found to have higher skills and performance, so we want to use the hashtag to instill the sense of belonging long lacking among students, taking a cue from #bangkitbersama which was wildly successful in garnering support for the SEA Games. What differs us from other universities is that this time the students are leading the torch and taking things in to their own hands. I hope that this movement will reach the staff and alumni of UNITEN as well.”
At the end of the session, Prof. Zamri weighed in by saying: “I would like to congratulate the students for asking good questions during the Q&A session. Companies that hired UNITEN students said that graduated were not afraid to step up and present. This really shows the proactive quality of UNITEN students and this really makes us stand out of the crowd. I also deeply apologize for any inconveniences made during the renovations.” He also congratulated SRC for successfully organizing the event.
All in all, the Townhall Session 2018 was a success. Miss Alicia Phillips, the fellow for Kelompok Ilmu summed it up well by saying: “When you’re given an opportunity, use it well. Staying in campus is really a good time for you to learn a lot of things not just academics-wise but also in terms of social skills, survival skills and learning to be independent so that once you graduate, you know how to protect yourself and also make friends and memories.”
To view images of the rooms, please click on the links below:
Written by: Rayden Sia
Photo source: Skuad Media Uniten