USM NEWS PORTAL 

GIVING HOPE TO THE HOMELESS – USM STUDENTS HELP RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS

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PENANG, 10 June 2024 – The School of Communication at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) recently organised a student-led Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project titled "Hope for The Homeless Project” at the Pusat Transit Gelandangan (PTG) in George Town, Penang.

The project is one of the assessments for YBP230 CSR course under the supervision of Professor Dr. Jamilah Ahmad and Dr. Suriati Saad, and is aimed to enhance the well-being of PTG's homeless population by providing essential food and hygiene resources.

Additionally, it sought to promote self-sustainability among PTG residents through urban farming initiatives and to establish partnerships with local communities and businesses.

According to Suriati, "Based on our previous research on teaching CSR courses at university students, engaging the students with industry and community is a fundamental element to ensure students gain an overall understanding of the course. This is what we are trying to incorporate in this course." 

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“Our students have also developed a website for PTG to increase awareness of the services provided by PTG and to enable others such as corporate organisations, NGOs and general public to contribute to PTG,” she said, referring to the newly developed website to raise awareness about Pusat Transit Gelandangan that includes a donation form and contact details for the centre.

Assistant Operation Manager of PTG, Mohamad Nazrin Dolmat, warmly welcomed the USM students to the centre.

Nazrin stressed that homelessness is a growing problem in Malaysia, with more people forced to stay in shelters and struggle for food and survival. He expressed a particular need for food, especially meat, as it is rarely available to the homeless.

“We are thankful and grateful to have the students helped clean the shelters and set up hydroponic racks for fresh produce within the PTG area.

“This hydroponic initiative ensures that the centre has fresh produce to feed the residents, promoting health, wellness, and self-sufficiency. Additionally, the centre can sell the fresh produce to earn income,” he said.

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Meanwhile, USM Pusat Sejahtera dentist, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, provided dental care education to the homeless individuals, emphasising the importance of dental hygiene. He demonstrated the proper method to brush teeth and gums and answered questions from the audience.

“Thank you to USM for their presence. This is not the first time a university has visited, but it is the first time there has been a hydroponic programme. Thanks to USM for coming and raising awareness about homelessness,” said Nazrin at the end of the programme.

Suriati summed up by saying, “Homelessness impacts the entire community. We must unite to tackle this challenge and help those who are struggling to find a better life.”

For the record, USM students curated sponsors and organised fundraising activities to collect food and money for essential items for the homeless including toothpaste, sanitary pads, biscuits, towels, and shampoo. These items were distributed, helping the homeless meet some of their basic needs and improving their well-being.

Source text & photo: Dr. Suriati Saad, School of Communication, USM/Editing: Tan Ewe Hoe

IC3D 2024 ADDRESSES GLOBAL HEALTH CHALLENGES ON DRUG DISCOVERY AND DELIVERY

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PENANG, 14 May 2024 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), through the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences together with the Malaysian Society of Pharmaceutical Technology (MSPT) recently organised the International Conference on Drug Discovery and Development (IC3D) 2024.

The jointly-organised scientific conference brought together more than 100 scientists, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, representatives from the government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to share their latest research and insights on drug discovery and development.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference, USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Dr. Habibah A Wahab, who is exercising the functions of the USM Vice-Chancellor said that in the current rapidly-evolving landscape, the quest for discovering new drugs and enhancing their delivery methods has never been more critical.

“This year's theme, "Drug Discovery and Delivery: Present and Future," highlights the importance of collaboration and innovation in addressing global health challenges.

“From combating infectious diseases to alleviating chronic conditions, the impact of collective efforts in drug discovery and delivery has touched the lives of millions.

“Across the globe, researchers and practitioners are utilising cutting-edge technologies and methodologies to produce novel therapeutic agents and optimised drug delivery systems to address unmet medical needs,” she said.

Habibah added that all these are made possible through interdisciplinary collaborations, data-driven approaches and precision medicine initiatives.

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The President of MSPT, Dr. Thaigarajan Parumasivan said that IC3D 2024 represents more than just a conference. It symbolises a beacon of collaboration. It is a platform that unites local and international experts under one roof to foster the exchange of ideas and knowledge essential for shaping the future of pharmaceutics.

“The theme ‘Drug Discovery and Delivery: Present and Future’ encapsulates the current advancements in drug discovery and delivery, while simultaneously foreseeing the path for future developments in tackling global health challenges,” he added.

IC3D 2024 was held in a hybrid manner to allow both in-person and virtual interactions during its keynote and plenary sessions as well as its poster and oral presentations.

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In addition, a post-conference workshop session offers attendees the opportunity to further understand the issue of drug development.

Also present at the opening ceremony was the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nurzalina Abdul Karim Khan.

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Text: Siti Fatimah Abu Mansor/Editing: Tan Ewe Hoe/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

USM EfP STUDENTS LEAD THE WAY IN SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROJECT

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PENANG, 3 July 2024 – The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Bachelor of Arts in English for Professionals (BA EfP) students from the School of Languages, Literacies and Translation (SoLLaT), in collaboration with Penang State Education Department (JPN), recently co-hosted an engaging community project.

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This two-week programme began with workshops on storytelling, public speaking, and debate, and finally culminating in an exciting competition.

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Thirteen secondary schools from Penang participated, with 150 students showcasing their talents. The debate segment stood out, featuring intense and thoughtful exchanges. After tough competition, SMK Penang Free School and SMK Convent Green Lane advanced to the final round, with SMK Penang Free School emerging as the champion. Congratulations to the winners!

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Associate Professor Dr. Malini Ganapathy, the Project Leader from SoLLaT who initiated this programme, highlighted the crucial role of EfP students in ensuring the event's success.

“Their involvement was essential for the smooth operation of the event. They took on key roles such as registration, ushering, chairing sessions, timekeeping, emceeing, photographing, editing, and food distribution,” she said.

Malini further noted that through these tasks, EfP students honed their soft skills, gaining valuable experience in organisation, teamwork, and communication, all of which are essential for their future careers.

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Special recognition goes to Nur Shaznie Faziera Mohamed Shawal, an EfP student and the head of the committee for this programme, for her dedicated leadership.

“Heartfelt thanks to everyone who made this programme a success. The volunteers, especially our EfP students, were amazing. We also appreciate the lecturers and teachers who gave up their weekends to serve as judges. Your support has been invaluable,” she added.

Looking ahead, SoLLaT USM hopes to organise similar events in the future, possibly including interschool debates within USM, especially between science and non-science students, to make things even more interesting.

Here's to more successful events in the future!

Text: Associate Professor Dr. Malini Ganapathy/Editing: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: SoLLaT USM


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