Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

The Shocking Story Behind #UTMmyhome

We see, post or share it everyday and never really gave a second thought of what the story behind it is. I was fortunate enough to meet the creator of UTMmyhome and ask him a few questions

So here we go,

Dr. Abdullah before we start could you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure. I’m Dr. Abdullah Mohd Nawi, formerly the deputy director of corporate affairs UTM and my portfolio was corporate communications and university branding. So that means anything that was to do with branding came through my office.

How was it before UTMmyhome & IamUTM were created?

I wouldn’t make a comparison between back then and now but there were 2 things I wanted to do:

Create a Battle Cry ( IamUTM )

I wanted to create a centralised sense of pride and hence the IamUTM. The reason I chose it is be because i wanted people to realise that if the building in utm were by an earthquake. UTM will still be here. Reason is because UTM isn’t just a set of buildings but rather the people. We are UTM, You are UTM, I am UTM.

Create a sense of belonging (UTMmyhome)

This is a bit more subtle

I wanted to launch one of these campaigns and then wait a full year before launching the other. Shortly after launching my first campaign( UTMmyhome ), the VC gave away the second campaign ( IamUTM ) in one of his speeches. I then immediately launched it.

How did the idea of UTMmyhome come about?

Well there is an interesting story behind it… haha. It was actually during my convocation in New Zealand. In the period of my study in the University of Canterbury we were hit by a devastating earthquake, starting from late 2010 all the way to God knows when!

Being in a place that’s almost never experienced an earthquake, we weren’t prepared for it. Over the course of my PhD I can safely say we have experienced over 15,000 earthquakes (including aftershocks) ranging from

1.0 ( You feel nothing )

2.0 (You feel dizzy)

3.0( visible vibrations)

to the highest that Christchurch had ever seen, 7.1. It was a miracle that nobody died but on Feb 22nd a 6.8 (on the Richter scale) hit and took the lives of a few.

After a while we got accustomed to the terror of the aftershocks. We lost several buildings to the earthquake so no place to do research, my job was gone and a friend even lost 3 years worth of study (bacterial culture).

Even after this cascade of unfortunate events, I would never trade this experience for anything else.

Soon after was the time when many Major universities, including University of Oxford, all over the world opened their doors to us.

Imagine Johor being flooded and all universities in Malaysia open their doors to UTM students to come and join them.

Point is a lot of students left but a few stayed until we got our degrees. Now how does this all come together?

It was during my graduation when I heard the speech of the VC as he addressed our whole cohort as the “Greatest Cohort”.

People left. You stayed. Thank you. Without you there would be no University of Canterbury

VC of Canterbury

As soon as he said this, tears started to well up. He then went on to say

After today you will all go your separate ways, you may go to your jobs and to your home countries but always remember this. That there is always a place for you here in Christchurch.

VC of Canterbury

I just burst into tears soon after.

Now this is the inspiration that I got for creating UTMmyhome because I want people to feel the same love, belonging and absolute sense of peace in UTM as much as i felt when i was in university of canterbury.

Thank you Dr. Abdullah and I hope all UTMians will be inspired to look at UTM as a second home and take pride in carrying its name.

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