When others were singing about three French Hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree, Pauline Luk and the NÜSycle (pronounced Neu-cycle) team were counting one thousand hangers, two hundred pillows, and numerous pens, staplers and Frisbees.
The PhD candidate in Communication and New Media, who set up the 24-student initiative more than a year ago, said the recycling project has filled up a 15 square-metre room every semester since it started. The collection in December 2014 was distributed on 11 January to more than 200 students within two-and-a-half hours. Some items will be collected by appointment, with the remainder donated to a charitable organisation.
The group, which was initially named NUS Freecycle, comprised Pauline and six other NUS students. It has since been renamed NÜSycle, a word play on the German word for new (neu) and recycling, for the new lease of life given to recycled objects.
"My initial plan was to collect items in my apartment's living room. However, with the support of like-minded people, the response was overwhelming'every time I saw the room full of donated items, I was astonished, said Pauline.
She first began the group as a Facebook event in May 2013, but the project has now become a regular feature of UTown Residence (UTR), where Pauline is a Resident Assistant (RA). The UTR RA team puts up collection booths in May and December, and executes distribution days at the start of the semester.
Year 2 Life Sciences student Javier Ng, who organised the most recent event, said recycling is more fulfilling than he had thought it would be.
He recalled the first time he helped out last year: "I was impressed by the huge turnout on distribution day and the delight of the many attendees. It made me realise that NÜSycle is more than just a recycling project as it promotes the joy of giving back to the NUS community.
The group received an NUS Student Achievement Award under the "Projects: New Initiatives category in 2014.
The initiative has attracted students from other parts of campus, but the team does not plan to extend it beyond UTR due to the amount of manpower and coordination involved. However, the team is willing to work with interested parties, on- or off-campus.
Learn more about NÜSycle.