By Laila Azzeh
For Rama Nimri, a victory for her team was a confirmation of its drive to protect the environment.
The third-year University of Jordan (UJ) architecture student, whose group ranked second in the 2009 Queen Alia Competition for Social Responsibility, said inspiration was their guide in designing a fully eco-friendly home.
"We knew we were going to win because we created new innovations for a house that is entirely environment friendly," she told The Jordan Times yesterday.
Nimri′s teammate, Hamzeh Rihawi, agreed, noting that the students worked hard to ensure that each item in their proposed house was environment friendly and energy efficient.
"For example we created an intelligent fitness bike that waters plants while it is in use," said Rihawi, a fourth-year UJ civil engineering student, adding that according to the design, the weight of a parked car was utilised to pump water.
He indicated that the team, along with hundreds of other university students who enrolled in the competition, studied all aspects of the 180-square-metre house design to ensure that it was applicable and economically viable.
The group was honoured yesterday along with other winners and sponsors of the competition, which was launched under the theme, "Energy is Responsibility".
During the ceremony, HRH Princess Basma said shedding light on environmental issues is of great importance to Jordan′s present and future, noting that the Kingdom has played a vital role in endorsing the Earth Charter Initiative, a worldwide call for shared responsibility for the planet′s environment.
She underlined the significance of the annual award as a national effort to encourage social responsibility and highlighted the importance of fostering efforts to advance the human development process.
"When we launched the award 15 years ago, we were aware that young people are the main pillar of change... it was important to engage them in the formulation of new concepts associated with production and consumption behaviours," the Princess highlighted.
She noted that JD30,000 of the competition′s proceeds were allocated to providing teaching aids for students with disabilities and learning difficulties in public and UNRWA schools.
Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khalid Irani said the competition is an essential part of overall efforts to fulfil national strategies seeking to reduce energy consumption.
"The ministry is willing to adopt some of the distinguished designs and projects that were honoured today... I was so impressed by these students′ dedication to do something for the environment, " Irani told The Jordan Times
Last year, the competition succeeded in reaching out to more than 400,000 students by distributing questionnaires to educational departments to raise awareness on ways to safeguard the environment and reduce energy consumption.
Education Minister Ibrahim Badran underscored the ministry′s commitment to encourage students to take part in environmental programmes and activities, noting that the competition has produced "distinguished projects" relating to the environment.
Launched by the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development, the annual competition seeks to shed light on prominent issues such as water, environment and health and raise public awareness on ways to help address the issues.