Students from the four main universities in Singapore unite for a common good.
Contributed By Andre Kamarudin
This marked the triumphant finale to a two-part community service project initiated and brought to completion by representatives from the four major universities in Singapore—Jing Seah from National University of Singapore; Ezekiel Wong Shang Jie from Nanyang Technological University; Perez Loh Ziyang from Singapore Management University; and Ivan Tan from Singapore Institute of Management.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The four friends had got to know each other through past community service projects organized by their respective community service clubs in their universities, functioning under the parent organization of CityCare Limited, a not-for-profit organization.
Inspired by a sharing session with CityCare’s director Victor Lim during the NUS/NTU Caretalyst Camp in June this year, the four youths, with a common aim to make a difference in the lives of youths, came together to materialize the vision of this project, which they named Quad-Uni Community Service Project. More than just another community service project, the project aims to bond the CityCare volunteers from the four universities together. On top of that, it serves as a platform for the volunteers to share their ideas and experiences. They have since managed to rally 25 other university students to devote their time and energy to this cause.
GETTING THE JOB DONE
The first part of the project was held on Aug. 9 where 17 undergraduates spent National Day painting a jamming studio at AWWA’s EXCELerate Services centre. EXCELerate is a service aimed at encouraging youths-at-risk between the ages of 18 to 25 who are without formal academic education certificates to resume vocational or academic-based education so as to enhance employability and ultimately increase self-reliance.
The mission of the university students was simple: to make use of their creativity and their artistic talents to put together a jamming studio that would appeal to youths. This jamming studio will be used by EXCELerate as a training ground for the youths-at-risk who aspire to form a band and play music as a means to earn a livelihood. The students also took the initiative to put up an “On-Air” sign that would light up when a recording session was taking place in the studio. They spared no effort in making the studio appealing and more engaging to the youths-at-risk.
SPARKING AN INTEREST IN SPORTS
The second part of the project was executed on Aug. 28, with the key objective of raising the value of sportsmanship among the underprivileged children at AWWA, and at the same time to celebrate the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games that had just ended. This was done through a morning of sports-related activities that included a Telematch. This time round, university freshmen were roped in for the planning and execution, with the purpose of cultivating teamwork, confidence and a sense of responsibility toward the community.
Displaying creativity, the freshmen organized the Telematch into four stations. One of the stations was named Gymnastic, where the children were taught simple routines and movements of cheerleading, including the front roll and back roll. Another station involved a game played with a world map to teach the children the history of the Olympics games. All four stations taught the children a new skill or added knowledge to them, spurring an interest in sports.
Staff members of AWWA commented on the excellence in the way the whole project was carried out by the undergraduates, in particular the stunning mural paintings at the EXCELerate center and the high-spirited finale at the Telematch.
Tan Guan Zhu, one of the freshmen, said that he had “gained confidence in doing community service through this project,” and that if given the opportunity, he would like to get involved in overseas community service projects in the future. Everyone agreed that community service projects such as these were meaningful and expressed that they would like to continue being involved in more community work.
|PHOTOS : Peter Chong
MORE PROJECTS LINED UP FOR THE FUTURE
What else is in store, now that the project is over? Said Loh, “Besides the sense of community responsibility instilled in us, the friendships we’ve built through working together is something that we want to take even further.” He added, “Volunteers from all four universities can look forward to an exciting range of events that their respective clubs have lined up.” Loh hopes that more volunteers will follow suit and step up to take the lead to initiate more community projects.
Wong, who is also the president of his own community service club in NTU, commented, “Now that this project is over, I would like to concentrate on NTU’s Caretalyst activities (organized jointly with CityCare), as well as seek future opportunities to work together with the other universities again.”
With the new semester starting in the different universities, despite the students having to head back to hitting their books, they still have the community in mind with another quad-uni project in the pipeline before the year ends. The four reveal that collaboration and preparation for an end-of-year overseas community service project is currently underway.