Dozens of Students Working Together Improving Puhsarang
International Business Management Program of the Faculty of Business – Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University, together with the International Affairs Office, in collaboration with the November 10 Institute of Technology Surabaya (ITS) and University of Wijaya Kusuma Surabaya (UWKS) implemented an international program together called the 2019 Community Engagement for Development (CED). The collaboration received a 2019 grant funding from the Directorate General of Science and Technology Institutions and Higher Education to conduct this event.
CED is a program that provides learning through community service, social entrepreneurship and an intercultural approach to life. A total of 25 students from abroad came to Indonesia through WMSCU and ITS partnership of collaboration with universities abroad. This time CED involved students from 10 universities in 6 countries. Universities from abroad included the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) in Taiwan; Saint Louis College (SLC) and King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB) in Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Tan Tao University in Vietnam; University of Asia & Pacific (UA&P) in the Philippines; and finally, Universiti Kuala Lumpur MFI in Malaysia.
The purpose of this program is to improve social skills because the activities are designed to hone the sensitivity and concern of participants to the needs of the community, including the ability to communicate, build relationships, empathize, and stay humble. “This year CED has the theme Enlivening the Spirit of Sharing and Caring, with the purpose of sharing knowledge, culture, experience, knowledge, skills and mindset, and it includes an element of action to show our concern to the community. It is hoped that the students, who each one of them came from a different background, learn to share among each other and from the community at the location of the activity,” said Erlyn Erawan, Psy.D., as the Chair of the event.
This program was carried out in Surabaya and Kediri from 17th until 26th of July, 2019. In Kediri, students carried out social projects within the village of Puhsarang, one of them was in the Yohanes Gabriel school area where they have a kindergarten and elementary school (Grade K-6). Because the school is located very close to the Puhsarang tourist area that is routinely crowded with visitors, many garbage/waste products are thrown in the back yard of the school. The school also has some facilities that truly in need of rejuvenation. Based on those needs, students were then divided into groups that worked on seven different projects, namely repairing school library facilities, repairing systems and installing school computer internet networks, repairing school toilet facilities, repairing landfills behind the school location, giving demonstrations to the local villagers on how household waste can be a community independent business, showing rosella farmers how to utilize rosella flowers to become a number of products that are not yet known by the community (e.g., face mist spray, jam, syrup, ice cream, and candy) to improve the economy of the community, and finally mapping improper garbage disposal areas within the village using a drone so that this information can be given back to the community to find out the condition of the environment.
During the six days in Puhsarang, CED participants made an extraordinary impact. All projects went well and were done directly by the skilled hands of CED students. They painted, remodeled, cleaned, and beautified the school facilities together. During that time, they lived in the local residents’ houses with makeshift facilities. Eliza Caspao, a UA&P student in the Philippines, said she likes living in Puhsarang and has good foster parents. “Even though they speak different language, they provide our needs and give freedom for us to do our activities. Sometimes we also clean the house together,” she said. Eliza described the CED participants as Pakikisama, which means when someone is trying to blend in well in Tagalog (her language in the Philippines).
Ivan Sebastian Atmaja Lie, one of the participants from WMSCU, revealed, “Following this CED program, I was able to learn how to work together with other people in order to complete the project, even though we were different in terms of language and culture. And the Puhsarang community is also very open and happy to work with us.”
In the illegal landfill mapping project which has become a bad habit of the residents, students used a drone facility with a camera that allows for an aerial viewing to see areas polluted by garbage. The video was later shown to the local village government and other village residents. The video functions as a joint evaluation so that residents may eventually have the habit of properly disposing of garbage.