The University's freshmen were inducted into NUS today with lively performances by student groups, and welcome speeches by both NUS and NUS Students' Union (NUSSU) Presidents at the Freshmen Inauguration Ceremony held at the University Cultural Centre.
In their addresses, NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan and outgoing NUSSU President Mr Soh Yi Da encouraged the freshmen to take advantage of the many opportunities at NUS to expand their horizons.
Prof Tan highlighted how the grade-free first semester, which the freshmen would be the first batch to experience, was one way the University was encouraging its students to go beyond their comfort zones.
"I very much hope that you would explore boldly outside areas that you are already good at academically, and consider taking courses which will really challenge you or in which you have a strong intrinsic interest," he said.
"Right now, each of you is a painter presented with an open canvas sheet. What you want to sketch, how you want to paint, the choice of colours to use, how long you want to take to complete the masterpiece, these are all decisions you have to make. There are no more hard and fast rules on how to paint but to produce a winning, celebrated piece of artwork with a story to tell," said Mr Soh.
As part of the festivities, all the new students, led by Mr Soh, recited the NUS pledge.
About 3,400 students attended the ceremony, which was held in two sessions on the first day of the new academic year. Among the performances were a smouldering tango by student ballroom-dancing group Viva LatiNUS and several songs, including one by pop group S Club 7 that got the audience clapping in time, by members of the NUS Wind Symphony's saxophone quartet.
The Freshmen Inauguration Ceremony, themed "Ex Novo" or "from the beginning" in Latin, was co-organised by NUSSU and the NUS Office of Student Affairs.