Curtin at the Inter-College Environmental Public Speaking Competition 2021:

In conversation with Wajiha Khan, 2nd Year Mechanical Engineering Student

Curtin Dubai students from the Sustainability Club and School of Engineering participated in Emirates Environmental Group’s Inter-College Environmental Public Speaking Competition 2021 over a period of 2 days from 23rd – 24th November 2021. The event consisted of 4 themes divided over 2 days in line with the United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals. Each university could send a team of up to 5 students for each theme.

Students from Curtin Dubai presented on the theme of ‘Integrating Environment & Technology: A Solution to Sustainability’ and competed against 20+ teams from across the GCC. Team Curtin Dubai spoke on the topic of ‘Water Conservation and Recycling Through Greywater Purification.’  

We spoke to Wajiha Khan, 2nd Year Mechanical Engineering Student, who shared her experiences from participating in the competition. She said that “Since water is an increasingly scarce resource, our team decided to not just raise awareness about the problem of scarcity but also pitch a solution for it. Curtin engineering students had designed a greywater filtration system that could purify and reuse 60% of the water used and wasted in homes today. This system was presented during the competition. “

On asking Wajiha about the learning opportunity the event presented her with, Wajiha mentioned that, ” the event helped us see the caliber of public speaking in students from all over GCC. We made excellent contacts with industry experts and academics of other universities. We also received excellent feedback and advice on how to further develop our technology and gain confidence in our ability to pitch solutions to a larger audience. We also gained immense support from our university throughout the competition. Our faculty and fellow students shared tireless motivation with us and cheered us on. They also streamed the event live as we spoke and gave us tremendous confidence.”

We also asked Wajiha on her take on how participating in the competition impacts discussions on environmental sustainability. Wajiha shared with us that, “events like this connect the minds of today with solutions for tomorrow. They help raise awareness about problems, such as water scarcity, or lack of sustainability in energy and agriculture. Our team itself was presenting technology that can hugely impact daily life. Events like this help accelerate the adoption of such technology. The judges are also often also experts in their fields. They may be lecturers, or industry leaders, or they may know resourceful people who can easily pick up, research, and fund useful sustainable tech. Therefore, it is always fruitful to be part of such conversations.

Lastly, we asked Wajiha about her proudest moment during the competition, to which she shared that,” It was a proud moment when the solution proposed by students from Curtin Dubai, was well appreciated by the panel and audience, leading to 2 separate institutions displaying interest in acquiring a live version of the proposed technology for academic and commercial purposes. “

For more information on the competition results and to learn about the suggested solution proposed by Curtin Dubai: [email protected]

 

About the learning opportunity and event in general

The event helped us see the caliber of public speaking in students from UAE as well as all over GCC. We made excellent contacts with industry experts and academics of other universities. We also received excellent feedback and advice on how to further develop our technology.

The event helped us gain confidence in our ability to pitch solutions to a large audience. We were able to keep the audience’s attention and remained relatively relaxed throughout our presentation. This allowed us to communicate clearly and kept our session fun.

We also gained immense support from our university throughout the competition. Our faculty and fellow students shared tireless motivation with us and cheered us on. They also streamed the event live as we spoke and gave us tremendous confidence. We would love to do it again, especially to make them all proud!

 

How this impacts discussions on environmental sustainability

Events like this connect the minds of today with solutions for tomorrow. They help raise awareness about problems, such as water scarcity, or lack of sustainability in energy and agriculture.

For instance, one university’s presentation about the dangers of producing nuclear energy was both, impactful and incredibly delivered. Seeing students from other countries was inspiring and also served as an excellent networking opportunity.

Many universities also pitched solutions to problems. For instance, University of Sharjah talked about their sustainability garden which they transformed over recent years. They went from barren land to an entire garden that produces tons of fruits and vegetables every day!

Our team itself was presenting technology that can hugely impact daily life. Did you know that 65% of the water that you use in sinks and bathtubs could easily be purified and reused? And 100% of it gets wasted at the moment. In desert countries like the UAE, we work so hard and process seawater to get clean, usable tap water. Imagine what a difference our purification technology could make!

Events like this help accelerate the adoption of such technology. The judges are also often also experts in their fields – they may be lecturers, or industry leaders, or they may know resourceful people who can easily pick up, research, and fund useful sustainability tech. This is why it is always fruitful to be part of such conversations.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt on the resume nor the academic profile! If you’re good at public speaking, people will notice you. It makes you very employable.

As for winning. Well, there’s always a next time! Plus, one of our audience members was ready to buy our filtration system on the spot. We think if someone is ready to pay for the sustainable gadgets you’re producing, in a way, you’ve already won!