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UNM Students Bag Championship in WWF-Malaysia Water Vanguards Challenge


University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) students won the inaugural Water Vanguards Challenge organised by World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia).

On 28 December 2020, WWF-Malaysia announced the champions from UNM who called their team The Semenyih Salvators. The team comprises Naufal Rahman Avicena, Sia Shu Xin, Leanne Frances Yee and Matthew Jun Yan Vergara, all of whom are classmates undertaking their second year of Environmental Science.

The challenge was conducted through a series of lectures where participants had to put forth creative, innovative and informative ways to conserve freshwater resources in Malaysia. Over the course of 10 days, The Semenyih Salvators worked tirelessly to create infographics, videos and posters related to this topic.

Paying homage to both the University’s location as well as the local wildlife found here, the team named themselves The Semenyih Salvators, where the term ‘Salvator’ was taken from Varanus salvator, the scientific name for the Asian water monitor lizard.

We chat with a representative from The Semenyih Salvators, Matthew Jun Yan Vergara, to get a more insightful look into the challenge.

“We found out about the Water Vanguards Challenge on WWF-Malaysia’s social media and so we applied to be part of it. We had the lead in the first half of the challenge. However, in the second half, the other teams had started stepping up, especially the team from Universiti Sains Malaysia,” Matthew recalled.

He also highlighted the stress they felt during this period, having to work on tight deadlines while also juggling their classes and homework.

“We were pleasantly surprised at the news and as our competitors were quite strong, our win was by a close call,” Mathew said.

“We are grateful to the organisers and the experts involved in creating this experience for us. We had fun and had the opportunity to gain different opinions and insights into pertinent topics on conservation in Malaysia.”

The contest was organised by WWF in an effort aimed to raise awareness of the importance of freshwater conservation among university students.


For media enquiries please contact: Josephine Dionisappu, PR and Communications Manager University of Nottingham Malaysia at  

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

Posted on 7th January 2021

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