127 recipients honoured at ceremonies celebrating the best of student achievements

Smiles, hugs and congratulatory handshakes were all in order at the NUS University Cultural Centre on 27 and 28 October 2023, as NUS recognised the best of student achievements at the Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards and the NUS Achievement Awards (NAA). A total of 127 recipients were honoured over the two evenings for their contributions to student life in the Academic Year 2022-2023.

The NUS Achievement Awards (NAA), formerly known as the Student Life Awards, is the most prestigious and only University-level award honouring the exceptional achievements of student life beyond academics. The Awards were renamed in 2023 to reflect and celebrate the full range and diversity of student life overseen by the NUS Office of Student Affairs.

Guest-of-Honour NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye, who opened the awards ceremony, commended the student leaders for their exceptional contributions during his speech.

“It is a fitting and joyous occasion, to celebrate the unique journeys of our students, how you have grown in mettle to scale new heights in what you set out to do,” said Prof Tan. “This evening, the recipients of the NAA are outstanding individuals; they are role models and an inspiration to the NUS community. Not only have they excelled academically, but they are also trailblazers.”

Excelling beyond academics

Accolades in Community Impact, Sports, Competitions (General) and Leadership were given out in three tiers – Commendation, and where applicable, Merit and Distinction.

Coming up on top at this year’s NAA were three outstanding students who were honoured with Distinction awards for their achievements in various fields:

  • Competitive sports shooter Adele Tan Qian Xiu (Communications and New Media, Class of 2023) was awarded the Sportswoman of the Year Distinction award. While pursuing her studies at NUS, she represented Singapore on the international stage, including at the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games, and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
  • Ryan Quah Kun Hao (Year 5, Department of Architecture) received the Distinction award in the Competitions (General) category. He is making his mark in the Architectural field, having won Gold at Nippon Paint’s Asia Young Designer Awards in 2022.
  • Final-year Social Work undergraduate Tan Wei Shuang received the Distinction award for her leadership as the two-term President of the NUS Community Service Club.

The honourees received their trophies from recipients of the same award in previous years, signifying the passing of the baton from one generation of outstanding student leaders to another. Likewise, the newly minted Distinction award recipients offered words of advice to budding student leaders in the audience.

“This award is only possible because of the efforts of all NUS Community Service Club members, and I would like to thank them for the opportunity to lead a meaningful student club,” said Wei Shuang.

“To all juniors, I truly enjoyed my student life being a student leader and learnt a lot more about myself outside of academia. I encourage all of you to step forward and give yourself a chance to try some leadership roles,” she added.

The NAA also included the Campus Choice Awards, which are awarded to recipients through voting by the NUS community. Pearlyn Koh (Year 2, NUS Business School), Women’s Captain of both the NUS Table Tennis team and the SunNUS team from NUS Students’ Sports Club, emerged victorious in the individual and group categories after a month-long campus-wide online campaign.

The evening’s ceremony also celebrated 12 Staff Advisors who have offered their support and wisdom to various student groups at NUS throughout the year. The awards also recognised student organising teams of university-wide projects such as the Inter-Faculty and Inter-College Games, as well as NUSSU Rag & Flag Day, an event exemplifying the vibrancy of campus life, in the Recognition category.

Celebrating the brightest stars in arts and culture

The Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards on 27 October was a memorable night for Malay dance group  NUS Ilsa Tari, which bagged the Group of the Year award. In addition, former NUS Ilsa Tari President (Academic Year 2022-2023) Muhammad Hariz Bin Emran also took home top honours as Student of the Year.

The Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards celebrates student achievements in arts and culture in six categories, all of which had a respective distinction award winner this year.

  • Student of the Year: Muhammad Hariz Bin Emran, President of NUS Ilsa Tari (AY22/23). Hariz is a Year 3 undergraduate at the Department of Malay Studies, with a second major in Communications and New Media.
  • Group of the Year: NUS Ilsa Tari, the university’s Malay dance group. With strong foundations in various traditional Malay dance forms, as well as the traditional Malay martial art of Silat, NUS Ilsa Tari experiments with both traditional and contemporary Malay dance to push the boundaries of creativity and modernity.
  • Original Work of the Year: Bairagi by the NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble.
  • Production of the Year: Essentially Macbeth by NUS Chinese Drama and NUS Chinese Orchestra.
  • Outstanding Community Arts Project of the Year: Helping Hands, Moving Bodies 3.0 by NUS Dance Synergy.
  • Outstanding Alumni Recognition Award: Since graduating, Ms Ong Xue Min (Economics, Class of 2019), a founding member of NUS Stage Alumni, has held several masterclasses on improvisation and acting for NUS students.

Essentially Macbeth, which won the Production of the Year Distinction award, is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between NUS Chinese Drama and NUS Chinese Orchestra. Staged as a play-within-a-play, the performance follows the lives of young graduates who reconnect with theatre after a prolonged absence, questioning the relevance of the arts in our everyday lives.

Jin Jianzuo and Liew Chet Ming, President of NUS Chinese Drama and Vice-President of NUS Chinese Orchestra respectively in Academic Year 2022-2023, expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to have worked together to create Essentially Macbeth, and to NUS for honouring student achievements through an awards ceremony, a celebration shared by their parents, coaches and peers.

“These awards serve as an affirmation and recognition for the efforts that the students have put in,” said Jianzuo, who is also a Year 3 student majoring in Data Science and Analytics. “It also makes us, the student leaders, believe that whatever we have done is truly meaningful,” she added.

Moving ahead together

Arts groups have much to look forward to in 2024, when the arts category is integrated into the NAA, combining both ceremonies into one event to honour and celebrate the best student achievements beyond academics, cementing the role of student life as an essential part of a holistic university experience.

“I'm happy to hear that the arts are being included as part of the NAA from next year onwards,” said Chet Ming, a Year 3 undergraduate at the College of Humanities and Sciences majoring in Chemistry and History.

“I've always believed that the arts have the potential to change people and make an impact on communities, and it's great that its influence is being recognised in a university-wide platform such as the NAA!” he enthused.

Watch the event highlights: 

By NUS Office of Student Affairs