The inaugural NUS Day of Service held on 3rd September 2016 was a great success. The NUS community of alumni, staff and students came together to give off themselves in various different ways. The first activity kicking off the day took place as early as 6am at the Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen, where NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan together with students, staff and alumni brought together by Tembusu College prepared, cooked and delivered food alongside the regular volunteers.
A total of 1,400 staff, students and alumni volunteered their time for 21 community service projects, which reached out to about 4,500 beneficiaries.
Read on to find out more about some of the activities that took place around Singapore and overseas on this special community service day!
Organiser: NUS Students’ Union Alumni
153 beneficiaries and staff from four welfare voluntary organisations – Thong Kheng Seniors Activity Centre, Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home, DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre and Autism Resource Centre – enjoyed a free educational tour of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, led by museum guides and accompanied by 45 alumni and student volunteers.
Organiser: National University of Singapore Students’ Union (NUSSU)
NUSSU members and volunteers visited Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) to show some tender loving care to the dogs at the ASD Adoption Rescue Centre, and were inspired by the ASD volunteers’ dedication towards caring for stray and abandoned dogs in Singapore.
Organiser: MSc (Environmental Management) Alumni, NUS Environmental Studies Alumni (NUSESA) and NUS Office of Environmental Sustainability
Waste disposal and littering are serious concerns in Singapore. Although many locations provide recycling bins for the public to use, these bins are often contaminated with wrong items. Bin Right! is a community awareness programme to bring awareness to the general public on the proper disposal of waste in recycling bins.
Organiser: NUS Alumni Auckland Chapter
38 alumni attended the auction dinner and raised $1,500 in support of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, New Zealand. The Foundation launched its inaugural national campaign "Breathe Better September" to raise awareness of the increasing number of people living with a respiratory illness – the third leading cause of death in NZ.
Organiser: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) Alumni Japan Chapter
The Charity Tennis Tournament and Dinner brought together alumni and their family and friends, for friendly tennis matches and a dinner to raise funds for UNICEF and Red Cross.
Organiser: NUS Office of Alumni Relations
Members of the NUS community showed their community spirit by volunteering at various neighourhoods around the island, packing and distributing food packs to needy families. Many of the volunteers were happy and proud to serve under the NUS umbrella!
“This event has shown the spirit of volunteerism in us. We will want to participate in many more of such initiatives, to give back to society” – Mr Dixon Tioh (Computing ’14), Raffles Hall Association alumnus
“The NUS Day of Service was a meaningful event. It was great to see the camaraderie among the participants. Personally, it was an important reminder to be grateful for what I have as well as to share resources. It was worth waking up early on a Saturday morning for this!” – Ms Maureen Oliveiro, staff at the NUS Office of Alumni Relations
Organiser: NUS Libraries
The activity held at Ghim Moh’s Lions Befrienders Senior Activity Centre saw close to 30 NUS Libraries’ staff interacting with 45 silver friends who live in the rented two-room apartments nearby.
Besides engaging with the seniors through refreshing exercises, nostalgic sing-a-along session and fun games, and sharing a sumptuous buffet lunch, NUS Libraries’ staff also forged warm friendships with the enthusiastic uncles and aunties and gained a better appreciation of issues that the silver generation faces daily.
Organiser: National University of Singapore Society (NUSS)
40 elderly beneficiaries from the Lion Befrienders: Bendemeer Senior Activity Centre enjoyed a morning of grocery shopping with 34 volunteers comprising NUSS members, and staff from NUSS and NUS. Each of the elderly beneficiary was given up to $60 to purchase groceries, and a goodie bag.
“It was a worthy way to spend a Saturday morning, doing something to make it a great day for a needy person.” – NUSS Member, Dr Loh Hong Sai
Organisers: NUS Office of Human Resources and College of Alice and Peter Tan
NUS staff, students, alumni and volunteers did their bit for the environment by cleaning up the Tanah Merah Coastline, including NUS Deputy President of Administration, Mr Don Yeo and former Director of the NUS Office of Alumni Relations, Associate Professor Victor R Savage. A total of 923kg of waste was collected, categorised, recorded and removed!
“Every small act of giving back to society helps. Through NUS’ Day of Service, I feel that I’ve made a small difference to the community I live in.” -- Khadar Shareef Akbar (Engineering ’16)
Organiser: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy India Alumni Chapter
Alumni organised a special lunch for the children at Bal Sahyog where they shared a meal and interacted with the children.
“Spending time at Bal Sahyog was a humbling experience. It made me rethink the importance and scope of public policy in improving the lives of people in India” – Rahul, MPA
Organiser: Eusoff Hall
In celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival, volunteers spent an evening playing games, having dinner and chit-chatting with elderly beneficiaries in Chinatown.
Organiser: NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
A total of 300 medical, nursing and social work students from NUS participated in the Neighbourhood Health Service (NHS), which provided free health screening services for the residents in Taman Jurong. Besides triage services (e.g. measuring blood pressure, capillary blood glucose, BMI, Snellen Test), NHS also collaborated with Singapore Eye Research Institute to offer advanced eye screening services, and with South West CDC to refer residents for free Mammogram services. Other services provided include pap smear referrals to Singapore Cancer Society and referrals to various social service organisations.
“I appreciate the fact that I could discuss the residents’ circumstances with the medical students so that the work we were doing became collaborative rather than parallel. I was able to understand the residents’ biophysical concerns, which helped me to assess the psychological and social factors inhibiting their treatment seeking more thoroughly.” - Tan Qiu Xuan, Arts and Social Sciences (Social Work) student
Organiser: NUS Volunteer Network Alumni and NUS Volunteer Action Committee
Members from the NUS Volunteer Network Alumni and NUS Volunteer Action Committee took elderly beneficiaries from Moral Welfare Home out on an outing, and spent time talking and having a meal with them.
Organiser: NUS Xiamen Overseas Chapter
To promote awareness of heritage conservation in traditional villages, 13 alumni from the NUS Xiamen Overseas Chapter went to Houlong Central Primary School in Quangang, to give a talk and tour. The team, together with 30 students and teachers (including the principal), visited the Tukeng Village, the most well-preserved village along the maritime silk road in Quanzhou. “I often see such folk houses and architectures but I have never paid attention to the details of the structure and craftsmanship before. Today I learned to appreciate how very delicate, special and beautiful the architecture is.” – a Houlong Central Primary School student
The team also brought books, NUS souvenirs and three sets of water purifiers for the school.
Organiser: Raffles Hall
Raffles Volunteer Corps brought smiles to the residents of the Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick, by engaging them in an arts and craft session and entertaining them with performances in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Organiser: Ridge View Residential College in collaboration with the Central Community Development Council
RVRC residents, alumni and staff visited the Institute of Mental Health to bring smiles to the long-stay patients through interactive games, handcraft activities, sing-along session, special bento lunch and birthdays celebration.
Organiser: NUS Faculty of Science
NUS Young Educators in Science (YES) conducted a show-and-tell of some 20 science demonstrations to visitors of Science Centre Singapore. Sharing what has been developed at the NUS Science Demonstration Lab (Faculty of Science), these undergraduates from YES get to infect the public with their own joy of science learning!
Organiser: NUS Food Science & Technology (FST) Programme Alumni
FST members and volunteers were at the Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home, where they entertained the residents with lively song performances and also helped out with chores at the Home.
Organiser: NUS’ College of Alice & Peter Tan (CAPT)
Students from the CAPT, together with volunteers, reconstituted used bar soaps from hotels for migrant workers.
Organiser: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Bangladesh Alumni Chapter
As a manifestation and mark of commitment to the environment, alumni and volunteers planted around 200 saplings and carried out works to beautify their road sides in Bangladesh.
“It is a small step, nevertheless it paves the way for bigger steps in future”- Abul Bashar (LKYSPP ’09)
Organiser: Tembusu College
NUS alumni, students and staff came together to clean, cut, cook and pack meals for the less fortunate among us. NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan; Master of Tembusu College, Associate Professor Gregory Clancey; Director of Student Affairs, Dr Kuan Yee Han; and Director of the NUS Office of Alumni Relations, Mr Bernard Toh also rolled up their sleeves to do their part for the community.
“Being in a community is really a special thing. It was pretty incredible to see everyone come together for these few hours, and hey – I got to marinate fish elbow-to-elbow with Prof Tan Chorh Chuan! It takes a community to help a community. The little that we do can really do a lot.” – Tembusu College resident, Liana Gurung, Year 4, Literature major