Students, lecturers, and community leaders had been working together for months and the result of this cooperation has been showcased at the EXPO UTS Campus Merdeka 2023. UTS as part of the Program Campus Merdeka stands out as an example to other universities in the region. UTS goes to the villages, our university students are present in the community to share their experiences, and knowledge acquired inside the classrooms, and they put into practice their research skills and embrace community service. This initiative provides opportunities for students to learn, develop themselves, and find knowledge through real problems and complex social dynamics. This program constitutes an holistic learning experience that brings mutual benefits, striving to empower students and communities.
The EXPO displayed the work done by the UTS students during the last semester in several villages of Sumbawa. Each group immersed in different villages had identified the existing potentials and designed strategies to add value by creating and developing new products that will improve the villagers’ quality of life. UTS joined the Program Merdeka in 2020, being this batch number 5 since its implementation. Until now, UTS Program Merdeka has involved 87 villages and produced more than 200 products. The goal is to cover a total of 157 villages in Sumbawa Regency by February 2024.
The honorable Prof. Ir. Nizam, M.Sc., Ph.D., General Director General of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education Culture Research and Technology inaugurated the UTS EXPO Campus Merdeka 2023. The General Director visited each stand and interacted with the students and highlighted the importance of the program. In addition, Prof. Nizam recognized Sumbawa’s enormous potential and expressed satisfaction with the work that young lecturers and UTS leaders are implementing.
A festive environment, accompanied by live music and performing dances, made the EXPO an excellent opportunity to share the work done by UTS students with the citizens of Sumbawa. 21 villages were represented on the stands, from Labuhan Aji from the beautiful Moyo island to Teluk Santong from West Sumbawa, all united, exhibiting the potential and innovation that underlies Sumbawa. Eco-Bricks, furniture, Apps, websites, and culinary products were some of the outcomes of the joint work of the UTS educational community and the villagers. This program is a breakthrough in the Indonesian education system. The Program Merdeka presents a clear path to social mobility and economic equality for all social actors. Education is dynamic and in constant change, and UTS is proud to be part of the change.