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Saturday, December 4, 2021

VAS encourages green lifestyle among students

By Minh Tuan

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The Vietnam Australia International School (VAS) has always paid special attention to encouraging a sustainable and green lifestyle among its students, helping them become global citizens with great responsibility for the community and the environment.

Over the past two years, the school has implemented the “Green School Year” and “Sustainable Development” projects with various activities to promote environmental conservation and sustainable lifestyle. With the support of over 40,000 participants, including students, their parents, teachers and employees of VAS, the projects have contributed to reducing garbage, saving electricity, water and other energy sources, and creating more green spaces.

Through the projects, VAS has donated nearly VND2 billion to repair 41 schools in Huong Hoa and Dakrong districts of Quang Tri Province, which were recently hit by floods and storms.

Besides, VAS contributed over 3,100 trees to the Can Gio protective forest through the VAS Green Day Run.

With the Reduce – Reuse – Recycle program, VAS has been able to reduce 80% of plastic waste, save 30% of electricity and water, and reduce 70% of paper for printing at its facilities and offices each year.

VAS also organized a video making contest titled “VAS Green Ambassador”, offering an opportunity for VASers to express their standpoints and raise personal awareness as well as to share their solutions to protect and restore the natural environment towards sustainable development.

“I know it is not too late to raise awareness of environmental protection even though Vietnam is taking slower steps than developed countries in the world,” said Marcel van Miert, VAS Executive Chairman.

Van Miert spoke highly of the significant efforts and activities in recent times by the Government, HCMC, news agencies, businesses, families and young Vietnamese people to reduce waste, protect the environment and preserve nature.

“Those actions are gradually leading to a big change. More than ever, VASers now need to join hands to take the responsibility of a Vietnamese citizen before becoming a global citizen,” he shared.

To inspire the students and teachers to go green, VAS has organized the VAS Talks with various topics like “Green School Year”, “Sustainable Development” and “Be the VAS Greeneration”. The series featured many well-known community activists such as Da Quyen, Le Nguyen Thien Huong, Helly Tong and Mzung Nguyen.

VAS has also published hundreds of articles, more than 20 clips, and thousands of paintings and stories by the students related to these topics.

VAS students have implemented four community projects since 2020 to provide scholarships and necessities worth over VND200 million in total to needy students in Daklak, Lam Dong, An Giang and Dong Nai provinces and donate more than VND60 million to support the Covid-19 vaccine fund and assist people affected by the pandemic.

Of them, the “Shed light on knowledge” project of VAS students at the Hoang Van Thu branch gave over 400 solar lamps to students across the country, grew over 1,000 trees and handed over 500 Christmas and New Year gift sets to disadvantaged children.

Besides, when the fourth wave of Covid-19 broke out, VAS provided necessities and food worth VND129 million to vulnerable people in Go Vap District.

VAS students visit and hand over gifts to a needy family

Renovation based on true values

HCMC has just gone through several months of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and many people have been confronting some anxiety and a lot of challenges to try to keep their life as normal as possible, while maintaining their physical and mental health in this particularly hard time.

The pandemic has impacted many people, families, organizations, businesses, communities and countries around the world, and VAS is no exception.

However, broad vaccine access is expected to help put the pandemic under control soon and this is the time for everyone to renovate him/herself in the “new normal”. This is also the reason why VAS chose “Renovation based on true values” as the theme of the 2021-2022 school year.

“Renovation” means renewing and developing oneself, family, organization and community based on sustainable values, which are not changed in every circumstance and throughout time.

“Like a forest that has just experienced a natural disaster, if every seed and every sapling has the motivation to rise up, sprout and head for the sun, soon we will have a cluster of trees, a wood and then revive an entire forest. That is also how we renovate our life after the pandemic, building strong communities based on the core elements which consist of each individual, each unit, and each family,” said Marcel van Miert.

“From a closer perspective, a part of VAS’s sustainably developing future lies in the efforts of each teacher, each staff member, each parent and each student in the coming time.”

At the same time, the school encourages students to continue looking for long-term solutions to support the community through the VASers for Community program and the 3Rs project.

“The change in awareness and habits in a new situation such as enhancing the ability to be independent, adaptable and responsible towards the family, relatives, community or new goals in learning and in life… is also part of the self-renovation that VAS wishes to educate students at their respective ages,” van Miert shared.

Established in 2004 and licensed by the Vietnamese Government, Vietnam Australia International School is a private school group with the national education system offering K-12 education programs. At present, VAS is one of the largest bilingual school systems in Vietnam, offering educational services to nearly 9,500 students from kindergarten through twelfth grade at seven campuses in HCMC.

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