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Making a difference: An interview with Winston Chua

Aun Ngo

Sun Oct 18 2009

Think big, start small. Melbourne University Winston Chua discovers change is possible, joule by joule.

Think big, start small. Melbourne University Winston Chua discovers change is possible, joule by joule.

YOU may think that changing the world is impossible, but it’s not, according to 19-year-old Melbourne University student Winston Chua.

Winston recently joined Engineers Without Borders (EWB) where students work with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through education and sustainable engineering projects.

You don’t even have to be an engineering student to join – all you need is motivation and a passion to make the world a better place to live in.

Winston joined EWB because he wanted to invest his free time into something worthwhile and to step into a different community and be exposed to different views.

“I also wanted something more related to my course on top of study, and learn more about engineering,” he said.

After attending just a few meetings, Winston has met a lot of interesting and committed people, and being involved in such a proactive community has made him realise that change is possible.

“Before this I didn’t think there would be a lot of potential to make a change… it seems so far out… we’re just students in uni,” he said.

“But [EWB] has been hosting big and small scale events, and doing more sustainable projects, and I think it can really change the way people view their own capabilities.”

EWB has various ongoing projects that members can choose to join, including projects on education, reconciliation, climate change, connectivity for refugees (CFR), and a Cambodia Development Education Experience (CDEE).

Being currently involved in the climate change campaign, Winston has been actively attending meetings and conducting energy audits on lecture theatres.

“You would be surprised how much energy one lecture theatre uses. It could be open for 24 hours, and it’s pointless and a huge waste,” he said.

He and his teammates plan to propose to the university to cut down on such wasted resources.

“This is one of the things I’m really passionate about that is worth investing time in… there’s so much potential, so much you can do, and it’s one of the things you can never fully achieve… but sometimes that’s what motivates you to want to do more.”

Winston said the great thing about being in EWB was that they give you the freedom to do things to your own capacity.

You can be involved in as many or as few projects as you want, and meetings are held to suit your schedules.

“I definitely encourage others to join because there’s so much you can do, and you have the freedom and flexibility to help out to your own capacity,” he said.

“It’s a really good platform to practice what you learn and know, and you meet so many people in the industry that it helps you to see the more technical side of things to your degree, and to build character.

“Changing the world doesn’t seem so impossible anymore… People, even students can actually make a change, be it big or small.”