1. ORDERLY UNIVERSITY
First of all, I have seen that UUM is pretty well managed and organized. I particularly love the collegiate system that resembles Oxford University, among others. This system brings together many schools, students and academics across subjects into three colleges: CAS, COB and COLGIS (such catchy names). I don’t know how or why, but each time I enter UUM, I always have this strong feeling of orderliness, organization and perfection (which suits my perfectionist nature!). Well, UUM has truly lived up to its tagline - to be an eminent MANAGEMENT university.
2. CHAMPION UNIVERSITY
Yes, being the largest management university in Malaysia, UUM can boast of the fact that it has nearly 1000 academic experts in the field of management and business management. Thanks to these gurus, UUM has been a champion in the business field, winning Asia Best Business School Award and Business School Leadership Award, for example. And not to mention, UUM is also well ranked in the QS University Rankings 2016 for Asia, jumping 56 places compared to the previous year, sitting at the 21st place in Southeast Asia and the 6th among public universities in Malaysia. Not too bad for a university located in a green forest, huh?
3. GREEN UNIVERSITY
Talking about a green forest, I have learned that UUM is also one of the top green universities in the world. According to the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2015, UUM is ranked 45th place, and 2nd in Malaysia. This is not surprising given its location in the middle of the Sintok forest (the tagline ‘University in a Green Forest’ is not a joke after all). And this offers a lot of opportunities for the university to promote its greeneries through the brilliant campaign of Discover UUM 2016. The UUM Sintok campus is seriously beautiful and I'm still exploring that thick jungle. I don't mind leeches sucking the blood all over my body. Okay, I’m kidding.
4. BRANDED UNIVERSITY
Alright, alright, I know. UUM is NOT a research university. However, I have observed that it is not an ordinary university; it is well branded and well conceptualized (most organizations are wittily abbreviated in English). I personally admire the brand that each graduate school represents: AHSGS, OYAGSB and GSGSG. Even the students' residential halls are named after some giant Malaysian corporations, such as Proton, Maybank, Petronas, just to name a few. Oh, not to forget the much-publicized rebranding of the School of Accounting into TISSA recently. All these brands simply resonate exclusivity and power, like the powerful brand of Qu Puteh. Eh!
5. LOST UNIVERSITY
Now, I admit that I always feel lonely around here. Being an urban male, I can't help feeling lost, isolated and cast away all the time. Yes, the university location does come with its drawbacks. UUM is so remote and quiet that I somehow feel like stepping back in time. Changlun? Well, this “rundown” town does not help at all (I miss McDonald's, haha). But the good news is, I’m beginning to enjoy this new laidback style of living. UUM is a great university with a “kampung” feel, surrounded by caring people, great foods and gorgeous nature. If that is not enough, just go punting in the Sintok River and you’ll be teleported to Cambridge.
6. HIGH-SPEED UNIVERSITY
But, hey, not everything is slow at UUM. The 24-hour wireless Internet connection is super fast! At 5 gigabyte per second, this is the best among local universities in Malaysia. And, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), UUM is also proud to offer free wireless Internet services (known as UUMWiFi) to the surrounding community in Sintok and Changlun. And when I miss the high-speed life I used to have, I can always join the frenzy in the morning when everyone drives like crazy, like they all are running late for work. For a moment, I think that I am at a Formula One racing track.
7. STUDENT UNIVERSITY
The next thing I have learned about UUM is how it caters the needs of its students. I particularly admire U-Assist that has made many students’ life a lot easier. This one stop centre aims to reduce bureaucracy and red tape (how I wish I could have this during my undergraduate years). If these students feel bored looking at the trees, there are also many sports and leisure facilities that they can enjoy. I love going to an Olympic-sized swimming where I can pretend that I am also a student. Oh, I have never seen university students so well dressed except here at UUM. But lose that tie, please.
8. EVENTFUL UNIVERSITY
Okay, at UUM, you won't miss anything because every single event on this campus is so well publicized, thanks to the colourful emails I receive every single day (I am always amused when reading carefully-crafted news from the Corporate Communication Unit). From workshops, trainings or ceramahs, this university always has something to offer to everyone. And they usually come with marks in the form of PBU (University Continuous Learning) for staff and SIRA (Student Information Record Activity) for students. Working in a quiet forest, I thank these overwhelming events for making my life a little exciting.
9. CELEBRITY UNIVERSITY
But wait, UUM is not all about greeneries and monkeys - it is also a celebrity university! Tomok, Zed Zaidi, Didi Hirdy, Zahid AF2, Hazama, to name a few, are all UUM students (I'll pray harder that Dato' Siti Nurhaliza will also register soon). And it's a common knowledge that our Yang Berbahagia Prof. Dato’ Seri Vice Chancellor is a celebrity-friendly person. So, it’s not surprising that UUM is supporting the creative industry field and has even produced its own TV drama series, “Inikah Cinta”, which was aired on TV3 recently. And not to forget, Zain Saidin was also appointed as an ambassador for the UUM International School. So much glamour on the air!
10. PEOPLE UNIVERSITY
But above of all these, I have learnt that UUM is people-oriented. The welfare of the staff is celebrated and well taken care of, from birthdays to new appointments to bereavement messages. I guess the community outside the campus can also feel this spirit of the people, as the Welcome Centre or Anjung Tamu receives so many guests, visitors and admirers from all over Malaysia. And I am sure UUM has affected many souls out there, serving the nation and spreading the values that are strongly embodied in the UUM motto: KNOWLEDGE, VIRTUE, SERVICE.
So thank you, UUM, for the wonderful first year of my service. You have certainly grown up since your establishment in 1984. And I hope that we can grow together and co-exist peacefully for the next 30 years or so.
Dr. Mohd Hilmi bin Hamzah