The NUS Day of Service returned for its second edition on 9 September, which saw almost 2,000 NUS students, alumni and staff participate in a slew of community service programmes across Singapore and overseas, touching the lives of more than 5,000 beneficiaries.
A total of 42 activities — double the number at the inaugural event last year — were held over the day-long event, aimed at a wide range of causes from health and environment, to public education as well as outreach to various communities like the elderly, children, youth as well as those with special needs.
NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan joined staff and students from Ridge View Residential College (RVRC) to plant 50 trees at Chestnut Nature Park. At 81 hectares, it is Singapore’s largest nature park and serves as a green buffer to strengthen the ecological resilience of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, while at the same time providing visitors with suitable recreational opportunities. The 50 trees planted will work towards enhancing the plant biodiversity of the existing secondary forests. The occasion also commemorates RVRC’s inauguration as a Friend of Chestnut Nature Park, which will see the College contribute both scientific input and student manpower to restore the forest habitat at the park.
Staff and students from the College of Alice & Peter Tan (CAPT), together with NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye, made their way across the island to Tanah Merah Beach where they conducted a large-scale cleanup of the shores, waterways and mangroves. By the end of the session, the 80 volunteers had collected, categorised and removed a total of 355kg of trash.
NUS Dentistry took the opportunity to give back to the University’s team of cleaners. Speaking of the motivation for this activity, Senior Lecturer at NUS Dentistry Dr Betty Mok said, “I thought it would be meaningful to use the knowledge and skills we obtained during our training at Faculty of Dentistry to help another group within the NUS community whose tireless efforts to keep the NUS environment clean are often taken for granted.”
One hundred cleaners were given free oral health screenings, as well as customised dental health education and information on the various healthcare services that are available for them. Reflecting on the experience, Year 4 NUS Dentistry student Eunice Lua shared a simple mantra, "'Always work with the end in mind' is what the school teaches us, and the end is to do good.”
NUS alumni communities beyond the borders of Singapore also played their part in the event. Their efforts included a public education campaign on the bike-sharing scheme by the NUS Alumni Xiamen Chapter; a visit to an orphanage by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School) Indonesia Alumni Chapter; setting up drinking water filters and distributing food to flood victims in Dhaka City by the Bangladesh alumni chapter of the LKY School; donating old clothes, household items and dry rations to flood victims in Bihar and Assam by the India alumni chapter of the LKY School; as well as food and grocery distribution to disadvantaged communities by the NUS Alumni Auckland Chapter .
Other activities included Eusoff Hall’s Mini Sports Day with the children of the Salvation Army Haven, a cooking workshop arranged for beneficiaries of AWWA Ltd. by the Orion Alumni Network, carolling at Singapore General Hospital by Duke-NUS Medical School, as well as various food distribution programmes to a number of disadvantaged communities across Singapore.
Looking back on the second year of NUS Day of Service, Chairman of the NUS Day of Service Organising Committee and Member of the NUS Alumni Advisory Board Mr Jeremy Ee said, “Once again, I experienced first-hand the enthusiasm and energy of the NUS spirit. I hope that the activities today will continue as long term and sustained contributions to society. With everyone’s support, Day of Service will continue to grow, and with that it's positive impact to Singapore and beyond.”