Thursday, 27 January 2011

If you are not with me, you are not against me

Read the title again. Did you get it?

I'm trying to strategise. I'm thinking out loud. What do I want to do under Kampus Sejahtera for the next two years. (Yah, I guess I will just do it and stop whining about not wanting to be reappointed.)

One thing is clear. Whatever I do or instigate others to do, must (not should, must) contribute to USM's APEX University agenda. Nothing else matters.

Now, don't get the wrong ideas. I can't take on everything. I will be focussed. I will pick my "fight". Anything which does not fit into that focus, I will say NO. For instance, I want to see results from now on. I want to see impact from actions. Kampus Sejahtera is about action. Not research. Data gathering and analysis is essential but only if it assists in taking the right actions.

So, if you come to me and propose an awareness campaign, even if it is health related, I will not say no.I will not say yes either. I will tell you I want to see it lead to some results. Awareness does not automaticaly lead to transformation. In fact, it seldom does. Who does not know cigarettes gives you cancer (ok, increases your chances of getting lung cancer)? Everybody knows. Yet, they smoke.

Next, I want to see long term plans. We start a lot of things. They get a lot of buzz. And then we lose interest. On the casualty list are immensely successful efforts like The White Coffin. Who's baby is it now? I work a lot with student groups. The problem is their life-cycle is very short. Those in command (office bearers) stick around for one year and then a new batch wants to do new things. There's little continuity. They have to focus. What should each group or society be known for? Identify it and stick with it. Make it work. Make long-term commitments. That's going to be tough. We won't get the same level of energy each year. So, what are the priority areas? Pick a few. Work on it. Stop generating new projects every year. Wait a few years. Let the priority projects take root.

So, what's the priority areas? It should be decided by consensus. We should throw them on a table, discuss, take it apart, and select. It should be doable. But it should be high impact. It must lead to change. If there is no transformation, it does not contribute to the APEX U agenda.

Kampus Sejahtera is a USM brand. As conceptualised more than 10 years ago by the current Vice-Chancellor, it's about insourcing. Essentially, urging the campus community to offer their expertise to make the university a better place for all. Yes, the term volunteerism is key (in the sense that you don't expect the university to pay you extra honorarium). A central idea is that actions are based on sufficient understanding of the issues or problem through data analysis and documentation.

I have suggested that the sustainability agenda under the APEX programme be branded under Kampus Sejahtera. In fact this was what I suggested in 2007. But I'm not the sustainability officer, so don't expect me to do that job. I will promote the idea of sustainability, yes. I will pick projects which will help achieve sustainability, of course. But we don't want to be myopic and not see anything else. I don't have a final answer yet and this will probably always be work in progress. Certainly I'm not working to present a Report which says that we have achieved sustainability. That would be the job of future generations, perhaps 20 or 50 years from now.

But in the meantime, if you want to do it your own way, that's fine with me too. That does not mean I won't bug you about coming on board. Are you with me? Or against me? (smile, it's a joke)


Anonymous said...

..well, my post maybe unrelated to your entry. But, i m not sure to whom should i voice this out. I m actually really proud of USM being all aware of green campaign, recyle, while coffin and other stuffs. Which i m not sure whether ..USM ever think of stop producing the USM planner or at least give an option to staffs who really love 'green' can get alternative form, like e-planner. cos, things i love about the planner is..the green pics of USM plus all the contacts, info and ...teh recent one give quote that boost up our spirits to deeply in love with USM. jusst thinking out loud..:)

Lik Meng said...

I totally agree. We should use e-planner (e.g. I use Google calendar).

We shd also individually make a decision not to accept the calendar. For the last few years, they asked how diaries I want. I said zero.