Chasing Dreams at Stanford with Tech Gurus and Sustainability Game Changers

Hasan Naqvi and Moizza Salahuddin, two of the Habib University students currently attending the Stanford Summer International Honors Program (SSIHP), write about their personal experiences in making their dreams come true.

Hasan Naqvi: I must say it has been a challenging and rigorous experience so far at Stanford University. Being amongst people from all over the world and around the brightest of faculty, it is never easy to make your mark and be heard.

However, I am extremely grateful of Habib University’s mission and pedagogy as going through two years at HU has changed me as a person, and when I sit in the classroom here with all the diversity, I bring to the table a very different thought. Especially as an engineer, Habib has instilled ‘ethics and awareness’ within me when it comes to thinking, using the principles of engineering.

Among the students at Stanford are tech-oriented students, students concerned about sustainability and the environment, business students, and so on. When we all come together, the outcome produced is exceptionally fruitful.

So although the learning experience has been tough, but having experienced the Habib curriculum is what is helping me go through this learning process in a much better way.

I have been exploring and travelling most of the time! A lot of visits to San Francisco and Palo Alto, and a couple of visits to Fremont, San Jose, and other cities has really gotten me used to being in the Bay Area. Our Resident Assistants think that we (the HU students) are the most active students in the dorm since we have visited numerous places on campus and outside campus as well.

Life has been made tremendously simple thanks to Google maps and all the other apps we have around us now. I sometimes walk with the Habib flag on me so people stop and ask me what does my flag say and that turns into an interesting conversation. A lot of the South Asians we met have asked us where we are from and once they get to know, they are always interested in finding out more about HU. We go through a practice of meeting new people and seeing new faces day and night.

Being present in Silicon Valley is a great blessing as from time to time you get to see around you, a great number of CEOs and other founders of start-ups and global technology companies. So far I have met with the following people and attended their talks:

…and the list goes on…

Experiencing the Office of Sustainability at Stanford

Moizza Salahuddin: Earlier this year, Habib University’s Student Council passed a resolution put forth by the Society for Sustainability –Habib’s own student-led Environmental Club. The resolution called for the installation of a formal Office of Sustainability on campus.

The idea of a ‘sustainable campus’ is to implement projects or manage every day campus life responsibly to become ecofriendly in the long-term. It is basically a conscious effort to reduce the carbon footprint individually as well as collectively. A dreamy idea of the 21st century, the Office ensures that campus life and operations are ‘sustainable’ at all levels, and so it is always innovating, experimenting –and hence, unsurprisingly, facing unprecedented challenges along the way!

Recently, I put up a ‘Life Event’ on Facebook that mentioned my meeting with Ms. Meghan Brightwater on July 16th, 2016. Ms. Brightwater is the Outreach Officer for Stanford’s Office of Sustainability and getting in touch with the Office in any way possible was one of my biggest goals this summer, something I had been working on for a long time. My club and aspired for ideas and to learn from experiences of initiatives around the world in order to gain a better analysis.

Ms. Brightwater was intrigued by the idea of a ‘brand new university’ dreaming big. She was especially generous when it came to information, telling me about her experiences in the office, the troubles working practically, influential strategies, and in short, the very idealistic idea of an office that’s green! She was open to ideas about how differently I envision sustainability at Habib and discussed with me her approach to making the campus sustainable while also referring me to development cases more similar to Habib.

She also mentioned that sustainability efforts at Stanford have had a 30 year history of policy-making, mobilizing departments and experimenting with newer initiatives. If you walk around Stanford, you will see ‘Sustainable Stanford’ posters at many places. From residence and dining, to power and utilities, recently, they have introduced strategies to initiate carbon-neutrality in sports and athletics as well!

On 21st July, I also met Rashmi Sahai, who leads Management and Assessments at the Office. She is responsible for energy audits and campus-wide data collection (enormous job!). She welcomed me to join her in a very practical meeting with a vendor regarding a new power saver software for devices at Stanford. Rashmi further plans to introduce me to the Stanford Pathology Department to discuss the challenges they faced in ‘becoming green’ and the strategies –very specific to laboratories –they came up with.

I will also be learning from the experiences of Ms. Fahmida Ahmed, Director of Stanford’s Office of Sustainability. She was among the first ones, says Ms. Brightwater, to work at the policy level, trying to experiment with ways in which to bring together different departments on one table and make them think about something radically new i.e. sustainability. In a highly decentralized campus such as Stanford, it is profoundly challenging; and related efforts to work through the system — plausible! Her work at the policy level is exactly what I am interested in and enthusiastically look forward to meeting her on August 3rd.

Meanwhile, I have been in contact with the student leaders of ‘Students for a Sustainable Stanford’, Caroline and John. As regular Stanford students, they work day in and day out to bring about change, living it and critiquing it. While I eagerly await my future meeting with them, I also look forward to forming a collaboration between Habib and Stanford this way.

To read more Blogs by our HU Lions, click here.


Comments are closed.