College of Design and Engineering staff and students celebrate sustainability as one community

A community that plays together, stays together. On 19 January, staff and students from the College of Design and Engineering (CDE) gathered at TechnoEdge for a very special occasion. It’s the inaugural CDE Day – the first event organised by the College, which has brought together two top NUS schools: the School of Design and Environment and Faculty of Engineering. Diverse but united, the CDE community organised a carnival demonstrating their passion for environmental sustainability and commitment towards student and staff wellness.

“It’s the start of a new chapter where design, engineering, and architecture come together in this new multidisciplinary community, to create a new interdisciplinary NUS experience,” said Professor Aaron Thean, Dean of CDE. He also reminded everyone the importance of taking good care of oneself, our community and our environment.

Joining the celebration were NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost Professor Ho Teck Hua, Vice Provost (Student Life) Associate Professor Leong Ching and Dean of Students Associate Professor Ho Han Kiat.

“My most memorable lessons (in NUS) were not learned in the classroom,” joked Prof Ho, who was from the NUS Engineering Class of ‘85. “They were through my interactions with my fellow students, understanding their backgrounds, their dreams, their aspirations. That was what inspired me.”

He also encouraged CDE students to be a good member of the community. “You want to be friends to all your peers, help them to realise their dreams. But also be prepared to accept help from other people – let them know about your dreams and your background so that they can understand you better and help you pursue your dreams,” Prof Ho added.

To mark this significant occasion, Prof Ho, Prof Thean, Assoc Prof Leong and CDE leadership staff tied the first few strings on the stringboard bearing the letters “CDE”, which was eventually adorned in colourful yarn, symbolising the different disciplines coming together to form the new College.

Towards a sustainable future, and a sustainable lifestyle

Course clubs and student interest groups banded together to create exciting games centred on the theme of sustainability. More than just fun activities, the games were conceptualised by students to capture the essence of the CDE’s student values – Versatility, Innovation, Inclusivity and Adaptability.

One of the highlights of the carnival was a Giant Jenga set-up put together by students. “Any working relationship has to be built on a strong foundation,” says Mikhyle Bin Mat Nooh, a Year 2 student who is also the President of the Design and Environment (DE) Club. “The several pieces of the Jenga tower represent the many stakeholders who are vital to a project’s success.”

Other interesting games included a board game designed by the Environmental Engineering Club to challenge students to maximise resource usage on Mars, as well as the recycled vacuum bazooka game developed by the Chemical Engineering Student’s Club.

There were also booths by CDE’s Office of Student Life where students could find out more about careers and internships with companies that champion sustainable initiatives.

CDE’s new mascot – Wolfram – also joined the students in an energetic dance to promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

Mental wellness a priority

One of the popular booths at the carnival was hosted by the Peer Student Supporters, comprising student volunteers who are trained provide emotional support to their peers. Participants got to try various activities, such as making their own name tags and adopting a plant. CDE students can look forward to upcoming workshops reminding students to eat well, move well, play well and connect well, through fun activities ranging from candle-making to waffle-making.

Growing the CDE Community

And the excited CDE students couldn't wait to share their vibrant student life with prospective students. Over 170 participants from local and international schools, junior colleges, and polytechnics had signed up for a ‘tour’ of the carnival and the College, hosted by CDE students. Cheerfully and candidly, CDE students shared their experiences as NUS students and answered questions on areas such as student life, study loads and managing study-life balance.

Engin Club President Samuel Paul Christopher, who was part of the team who met the new friends online, said, “Today was a significant milestone for CDE. This year’s focus is on strengthening the support systems for students - by nurturing existing friendships, forging new friendships, and a greater emphasis on wellness. As one CDE study body, we hope to work even more closely with the College leadership to better support students – seniors and new students alike.”

With a cohesive and dynamic community behind it, CDE is all set to forge new frontiers together!