The Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) under the Centre of Studies for Construction, Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying (FSPU) in collaboration with the Alumni Universities of Texas Association (PAUT) has successfully organised an expedition adventure to the summit of Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal. The 12-days expedition in March 2022 has been long overdue and delayed amidst to the strikes of Covid-19 thus the official launching of this expedition was postponed to 3rd December 2021 attended by YB Datuk Seri Dr. Noraini Ahmad, Minister of Higher Education, Prof Datuk Ts Dr. Roziah Mohd Janor, Vice-Chancellor of UITM and Tan Sri Dato’ Ir Hj Zaini Omar, the Chairman of Mohhashi Space Gateway Bhd. The ceremony involves signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UiTM and Mohhashi Space Gateway Berhad at Shah Alam Convention Centre (SACC).
A total of 16 climbers, including students and lecturers from the Centre of Studies for Construction, the Alumni from both Texas Universities Association (PAUT) , and Built Environment Organisation (PAAB), along with the training coach, medical doctors, and cameraman, managed to collaborate as a team after gaining approval from the by Vice Chancellor of UiTM in February 2021.
Four faculties in UiTM comprising Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Faculty of Sports Science and Recreation, Faculty of Business and Management and Faculty of Medicine has shared their expertise and experiences in the long preparation of the climbers’ in terms of their physical and mental well being. The joint-effort for the expedition has come to its fruition and successfully achieved its target and objectives.
Nevertheless, hiking was not the only objective of this expedition but also the involvement of conducting research and development. Wide-range of research interest which covers the Nepalese cultures and native people, resilient disaster environment management at high altitudes and adaptation of human comfort along the pathway of hiking trails at Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). This opportunity enables the lecturers and students to conduct data collection along the 96km hiking trails to the base camp and back to initial spot of Jhinu Danda. Annapurna Base Camp is one of famous hiking trails in Nepal with frequent seasonal visiting of avid hikers all around the world. The mission attracts many opportunities for students and professionals alike to study about mountain architecture, sustainable development, resilient disaster management and environment.
Apart from that, the expedition also helps to strengthen the spirit teamwork and identity among the students. The students would then becoming the role-model for their peers to lead by example and to find their inner strength within to face any obstacles and challenges in future path.
Dr Soo Wincci was appointed as the ambassador of this expedition, which she involved in promoting and marketing including Signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UiTM and Kathmandu University, and also the Corporate Social Responsible (CSR) Program in Madrasa, Kathmandu on 19 and 20 March 2022. Both of the programs were organised by UiTM with the NGO’s like Girl Scouts. The main sponsors of the expedition were Malaysia Airlines Berhad, Bubbles O2, SD Advance, Yayasan RI, and MKH Berhad.
Finally, the success of this expedition could not be achieved without the relentless support by the government bodies, NGO’s and collaboration among the faculties per se. Future endeavour such as this expedition will set a cornerstone to universities to develop a meaningful partnership with the government bodies and extending affiliation with the NGO’s to support more educational programs, research collaboration, as well as enhancing the overall visibility of the university.
Aimi Ashikin Hanib & Dr Sheikh Ali Azzran