TAR UMT’s Project G drives sustainability among its Gen Z students amidst growing interest from Malaysians

  • Rising concern about sustainability; responsible corporate & financial practices
  • Empowers students to actively contribute to sustainability and wellness initiatives

Standing Left: Richard Navarro, Google APAC Real Estate and Workplace Services (REWS) Sustainability Partner; Kneeling Bottom left: Cindy Poh Huay Yuet, TAR UMT lecturer & programme Leader, Bachelor of Communication (Hons) in Advertising together with her final year students involved in Project G.

For the past few years, Google search trends have highlighted Malaysians’ growing interest in sustainability, along with green topics like greenwashing, circular economy, and food security.

‘Food security’ experienced a strong 150% increase in popularity from Jan 2022 to Sept 2023 compared to the preceding 20 months.

The nation is among the top 10 worldwide when it comes to searching for topics like ‘food waste’, ‘thrifting’, and ‘environmental, social and corporate governance’ (ESG). These topics reached an all-time high in popularity last year, with interest surging by 230% compared to the previous 20-month period.

Overall, the data suggests that Malaysians are increasingly interested and concerned about sustainability, environmental issues, along with responsible corporate and financial practices. 

The statistics were shared by Google during Project G Day last Sept. Project G is Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology (TARUMT)’s sustainability initiative celebration.

Project G Celebration

Taking exams, mixed-reality animated mascot known as ‘Chapu’ adds to the fun as well.

With the concern for the Earth’s climate and sustainability becoming the norm, Project G was launched in mid 2023 with the aim of attracting and encouraging Gen Zs to develop an interest in fostering sustainable change along with promoting mental wellness through green practices.

Supported by Google Malaysia, the project was led by final year students from the Bachelor of Communication (Honours) in Advertising.

One of the students involved, Tan Sze Ni said they had chosen to focus on environmental and mental health issues due to their serious prevalence in society.

“Through this project, we hope to cultivate a generation aware of mental health, emphasizing resilience, optimism, and a positive attitude, and encourage them to make small changes for the sustainable development of the planet,” she added.

Richard Navarro, Google’s APAC Real Estate and Workplace Services (REWS) Sustainability Partner said, “It’s great to have been a part of this program and witness TAR UMT students drive Project G to further positive change among Gen Zs. In REWS, we share the same vision to take bold actions to address the carbon impact associated with our buildings and operations.”

Cindy Poh Huay Yuet,  Lecturer & Programme Leader of Bachelor of Communication (Hons) in Advertising said, "We are excited to embark on this project supported by Google, an organization that embraces technology to solve its sustainability challenges.” 

According to her, Project G not only enriches students' educational experience but also empowers them to actively contribute to sustainability and wellness initiatives, creating a profound and lasting impact on both the university and broader community.

Tan agreed. “We students not only gained valuable experience in collaborating with large companies in the real world but also developed teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.”

“Google has supported us from the earliest stage where we were brainstorming ideas on the project, Green Heroes, along with data, content, and the event itself,” Cindy said.

As part of the collaboration, TAR UMT and Google formed ‘Green Heroes’, a team comprised of thought leaders (mainly the students themselves) and Google employees to serve as beacons of inspiration, aiming to inspire others to creatively embrace recycling and adopt a lifestyle rooted in sustainable living; spotlighting innovative sustainable practices, especially upcycling (reuse discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original), and sharing valuable tips through short videos. 

To engage with their target audience, the project had its very own mixed-reality animated mascot known as ‘Chapu’, who chronicles Project G’s journey and motivates students to be more environmentally attuned and mentally fit.

Feedback from the project was gratifying, said Tan adding that “Chapu was loved by many, and the university (TAR UMT) has continued to use this character even after the project ended.”

On the question of whether there will be another Project G in 2024, Cindy said, “We hope to continue with our initiatives for similar social responsibility projects, hopefully it takes flight.” 


Related Stories :

Keyword(s) :
Author Name :
Download Digerati50 2020-2021 PDF

Digerati50 2020-2021

Get and download a digital copy of Digerati50 2020-2021