Farid Ahmad describes how a meeting with another student changed the way he thought about the environment.

The Fall term is approaching and once again the campus is going to be more colorful, not only with variety of flowers, designs and decors, but also as boys and girls arrive from countries around the world to study in this beautiful environment. A banner catches your eyes on a central column of the University. The banner is colorful and features a variety of languages but all with one single meaning: WELCOME.

I was excited by the variety and diversity of students who walk happily in the calm, clean and pleasant pathways of CIU. Some run towards the international office, some to registration, others toward the dormitory office, and some who more curious about sport want to go and see the big CIU Arena sport center.

I took out my notebook and pen and prepared myself to walk around the campus and to choose someone to interview. While I was walking along the route from theInformationCentertowards the supermarket, I saw a young man sitting under a tree drinking water. I interrupted his quietness and said, ‘Merhaba’ as I thought he probably spoke Turkish. But he smiled and explained that he could not speak Turkish.

I was drawn to him straight away – he looked very calm, relaxed and knowledgeable, so I started my interview by asking him where he was from.

He replied with a big smile: ‘Gulistan!’ For few seconds I felt embraced, as despite my broad knowledge of country names, I couldn’t figure out if he really meant ‘Gulistan’ or whether I had heard it wrong. I looked at his face and asked again. Maybe it was Gulistant or Gurjistan?

He said. ‘No Miss, it’s Gulistan, G-U-L-I-S-T-A-N’, and he smiled. Then he continued, ‘You see, Gulistan is a country that has expanded its territory all over the world, it neither has borders nor passport or visa regulations. Although I have another nationality in official documentation, I am more a Gulistani than anything else.’

The conversation was getting more interesting and I was excited to know more, so I asked him what made Gulistanis different from other people. Do you wear specific clothes or eat different food, or are there are other things that differentiate you or in better words identify you?

He said, ‘There are no differences, you can be a Gulistani right away if you want. Or you might be a Gulistani already, without knowing it!’

‘Oh really!’ I replied with enthusiasm, and I became more and more exited more curious to hear from him. He cleared his throat and continued: ‘In Gulistan people are very cautious about their habitat and environment, which should be Clean and look Green. That’s it!  Some people call us environmentally friendly people.’

Then he added the following characteristics of Gulistani citizens:

‘First, about smoking. Gulistani people may smoke, but it’s not common and if they do then they won’t throw the cigarette ends on the beautiful grass. They usually smoke near to a standing dustbin and ashtray in a corner and they throw the used cigarettes in the ashtray.

‘Secondly, they never, ever, leave their food, drink cans or waste in the classroom or throw it in on the grass. They keep used cans, bottles and plastics until they find a dustbin and they put it there.

‘Thirdly, they are very cautious about their use of water. It is very important to care about the water we use and the way we behave in keeping it clean.

‘Yes my friend, I think these are the three basic things, but I have some more information and if you are interested I will explain in much more detail. But don’t forget that Gulistanis are spread across all the countries of the world and they take the things mentioned above very seriously.’

‘Wow!’ I replied and I told him, ‘Hey, I follow all these things too and even more, and so do many of the people around me, so are we honored citizens of Gulistan?

‘Yes!’ he replied with a big smile. ‘Remember two things: CLEAN and GREEN.’