The Rector of UGM, Professor Ova Emilia, MD, met with hundreds of the Alums Family of UGM (Kagama) in Banyuwangi, East Java, on Saturday (29/7).
During the friendly and harmonious dialogue, the rector received input from the alums on how UGM could contribute to advancing education, research, and student community service (KKN) in Banyuwangi.
Kagama Chair in Banyuwangi, Dodik Dwi Suryanto, mentioned that Banyuwangi is now being developed as a tourist destination, similar to Bali. Banyuwangi is a gateway for visitors traveling to Bali through the Ketapang port.
“Why don’t we explore how Banyuwangi can become a major tourist destination in Indonesia?” he said.
Despite being a dentist by profession, Suryanto revealed that he has been involved in agriculture and raising Etawah goats, guided by Professor Zaenal Bachruddin from the UGM Faculty of Animal Sciences.
“I have been learning about agriculture and goat farming, and Professor Zaenal Bachruddin has mentored me in raising Etawah goats. I have established a Nusantara livestock farm for Etawah goat farming and Etawah goat milk,” he said.
Furthermore, Suryanto introduced Gama Umami grass, which he has started to promote among farmers and breeders in Banyuwangi.
Dr. Nafiatul Umami, a Faculty of Animal Sciences lecturer, developed Gama Umami grass, a mutation of elephant grass that has been irradiated with gamma rays to produce superior grass compared to its parent variety.
Gama Umami grass has a higher production yield than local elephant grass and can be harvested up to 6 times a year.
“Because of this grass, I got to know Dr. Umami, and we brought 400 seedlings from Gunungkidul, hoping they can thrive here,” he added.
Another alumna, Wiwin Indiarti, who graduated from the English Literature program at the UGM Faculty of Cultural Sciences, has been involved in a team of translators for ancient palm-leaf manuscripts of Yusuf and Sritanjung.
In addition to her work in literature, she has been advocating for the indigenous community in Banyuwangi.
“We hope that UGM will also support the enactment of the Indigenous Peoples Bill, which the parliament has not passed,” said the English graduate.
Responding to her proposal, Vice-Rector for Student Affairs, Community Service, and Alumni Dr. Ari Sudjito expressed readiness to support lobbying efforts to urge the parliament to pass the Indigenous Peoples Bill.
“We have been involved in drafting academic manuscripts about indigenous communities to strengthen Indonesia’s local and community-based knowledge in preserving the environment for nation-building,” he said.
Bintari Wuryaningsih, MD, expressed her concerns about environmental issues. She specifically spoke on educating mothers in Banyuwangi about the importance of waste separation.
She provided training in waste education at a waste education center and campaigned for waste separation on social media. According to her, the waste problem cannot be resolved by merely collecting and disposing of waste.
“Waste management begins at home. We must separate waste at home. By separating waste and using it for compost, eco-enzymes, and liquid organic fertilizer, it can be utilized for organic farming of food crops for families. If the price of chili rises, we can grow chili at home, and the same goes for vegetables,” said Wuryaningsih.
She also expressed her concerns about waste management in the Yogyakarta Special Region. She believes that if waste separation starts from each household, the problem of waste exceeding landfill capacity will not occur.
In response, the UGM Rector agreed that waste management should be handled independently before disposing of it at the landfill.
The rector appreciated the contributions of UGM alums in Banyuwangi to society by establishing waste education centers and separation initiatives.
“The works you have shown are truly remarkable. Waste management is a problem close to us in Yogyakarta. UGM is currently making efforts to address this issue,” she concluded.
Author: Gusti Grehenson