24 August 2018

Taylor's Lakeside Campus buzzed with activity recently as close to 50 volunteers combined forces to build a double storey microhouse, a home that fits into two parking bays. Taylor's University partnered up with Me.reka Makerspace, an impact-driven enterprise, for the project; which was the anchor activity for the Taylor's Future Movement Open Day. The inaugural experiential event took place over the weekend of the 11th and 12th of August.

One of the participants of the Taylor's Microhouse Challenge, Vivian from Shah Alam shared that she learnt about the event as she is a fan of Me.reka Makerspace, the collaborative partner for this interactive session.

"I was quite curious to see what the event was about after seeing a post because I would like to build up my own knowledge bank on what goes into building a home. When I mentioned it to my father, he was also keen to attend so we decided to make a weekend out of it.

Vivian (in grey) listens intently to the instructor as he briefs the participants who signed up for the solar panel workshop

"As a nature enthusiast, I wanted to see how to harness the sun's power, so I signed us up for the solar panel workshop session. The workshop allowed me to enhance my wiring skills as well as learn more about solar panels as a whole.

"I also learnt how to properly install the solar panels on the second day; which was an added bonus but it was an added dimension to the experience and I'm glad to be part of a team that did fulfilling work," said Vivian.

For Vivian, this experience allowed her to bond with her father in an unusual manner.

"My father's very handy around the home- he's always fixing things; so it was a good experience to work alongside him towards a common goal as a group, and seeing progress throughout the day.

"The best part of this experience, aside from that, would be the fact that I got to scale the scaffolding to install the solar panels. I've always noticed scaffolding around the city as there's always construction going on- so, being able to climb up the bars was a real treat.

The volunteers working on the foundation of the Microhouse

"The experience was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the cooperative nature of the tasks very much. At the end of the weekend, I was filled with a sense of satisfaction as there was a tangible result to the work that I did, which is quite different from my current scope of work, which involves experimental research in cognitive psychology as part of my postgraduate studies," said the 28-year old.

The microhouse has redefined the traditional concept of a home as a way to help solve rapid urbanisation; in response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 11, which is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Taylor's University Chief Marketing Officer Ben Foo said that Taylor's University looks to challenge and inspire individuals to defy convention while building on their 21st century skills; which includes the ability to think critically and creatively.

"We partnered with Me.reka Makerspace for the Taylor's Future Movement Open Day because we wanted to give our participants a platform to develop these skills while connecting their passion to a deeper purpose.

"We hope that through their participation in the Microhouse Challenge, they will be empowered with the critical skills needed to solve pressing global issues," he shared.

Participants from the Edible Gardens workshop step back to view their handiwork

Me.reka Makerspace chief executive officer Rashvin Pal Singh said that the Microhouse Challenge that was co-organised with Taylor's University is a perfect example of cross sector collaboration, led by the education sector, in partnership with an impact driven organisation.

"Strategic partnerships like this will allow for the creation of new innovative solutions to the very real problems we have today, like urban housing and resource consumption," he said.

Different parts of the Microhouse were built up on site at Taylor’s Lakeside Campus by a host of volunteers

In addition to the anchor activity, Taylor's University organised a range of interactive and entrepreneurial sessions that are based on three key pillars; Explore, Evolve and Express. This unique approach to curating your own journey of acquiring information is in keeping with the Taylor's Curriculum Framework, which allows students at Taylor's University to mix and match their subjects and ultimately, graduate with a degree that marries their passion with industry-centric knowledge.

Taylor's Future Movement aims to be the platform where the passion of youth can be connected to a deeper purpose- allowing participants the opportunity to explore what makes them passionate, strengthen their capabilities and learn more about the different career possibilities.

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