UC Students Volunteer to Help the Environment: Let's Do It! Cambodia

By Nara Sokhema (UC Student and volunteer)

Sixty University of Cambodia (UC) students joined Cambodia’s largest youth-led environmental movement in the “Let’s Do It! Cambodia” project to clean up seven of the dirtiest sites in Phnom Penh City on Saturday, April 23. Over 2,400 Cambodian youth volunteered in the event.

The objective of the project was to educate youth about environmental protection and sustainable consumption, as well as to motivate them to take action in keeping our city clean.

The organizing committee consisted of active youth from the Junior Chamber International of Cambodia (JCI), Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales (AIESEC), and different universities. These youth organized both the educational workshops at different universities and the city clean up event on April 23.

“I believe that leadership by example, like this, is a lot more effective than just saying.”Saya Molika, UC Student

On the day of the event, Olympic Stadium was filled with 2,400 volunteers from different universities, NGOs, and companies. Starting at 7 am, the volunteers gathered to prepare for the event and then divided into groups to clean up the seven different sites: Borei Keila, Steung Meanchey, Toul Kork roundabout, Old Stadium, Phsar Kandal, Phsar Chas, and Chbar Ampov.

H.E. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, and H.E. Kep Chuktema, Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality, each delivered a keynote address. Afterwards, the youth volunteers boarded buses to their assigned locations and picked up trash in the streets while enthusiastically cheering, “Clean city starts from us!”

“It was the biggest event ever,” said Song Dapisei, a UC student who participated in the volunteer event. “Having 2,400 youth coming at once to clean up the city is such an amazing thing. I was so excited to be part of it. This event helps raise public awareness to manage trash well, and I think we should have spent more than just two hours, so that we could pick up more trash and show more people [the value of keeping the city clean].”

Saya Molika, another UC student, said that it was a great experience for her to volunteer in the “Let’s Do It! Cambodia” project. She served as a zone leader, leading volunteers to clean up around the Old and Central Market areas.

“It was hard to get people to change their behavior, but when we picked up the trash in front of their houses, they started to feel ashamed and told their kids to not throw trash. . .[carelessly],” said Molika. “I believe that leadership by example, like this, is a lot more effective than just saying.”

After participating in the clean-up campaign for two hours, the volunteers re-gathered at the stadium to receive coupons to attend the closing concert during the evening. Bands volunteered to perform in honor of the event, and everyone celebrated the great success of the “Let’s Do It! Cambodia” campaign.