NUSSU RAG & Flag Day 2023: Embarking on the new academic year with a burst of vibrant energy
The usually tranquil and serene green grass field of University Town Green at NUS was transformed into a kaleidoscope of colours on 12 August 2023, as the annual NUS Students’ Union (NUSSU) RAG & Flag Day celebration unfolded. Taking centrestage were some 1,100 students and performers decked out in multi-coloured outfits, putting up energetic performances amid cheers and applause from an enthusiastic audience.
Themed “Unravelling the Unknown” to signify the spirit of learning through adventure in the limitless possibilities of the post-pandemic world, NUS students demonstrated the true spirit of giving, coming together as one to raise close to S$170,000 for 20 beneficiaries from Community Chest through generous donations from members of the public and corporate partners.
The NUSSU RAG & Flag Day dates back to 1958 and is a long-held annual university tradition where students and staff rally together to give back to society. The event takes place in two segments, firstly Flag Day, where NUS students head out into the community with tin cans to seek donations in aid of the beneficiaries from members of the public. The charity effort culminates in RAG (Receiving and Giving) Day, where students stage spectacular performances in a show of appreciation to donors for their generosity.
This year’s event also welcomed the return of the Flag Carnival for the first time since 2019, as participants reacted with delight at the game stalls, punctuating the palpable buzz on the event grounds. Proceeds from these activities, snacks and games booths, set up and managed by various student interest groups and hostels, also went towards supporting the beneficiaries from Community Chest.
Many hearts, one goal
At the NUSSU Flag Day on 29 July 2023, about 900 NUS students from different colleges, faculties, schools, halls and residential colleges braved the heat and fanned out across 60 locations in Singapore − from the heartlands to the city centre – to canvass for flag donations.
The collection of donations wrapped up as the sun set but the work for Flag Day continued tirelessly as 100 students gathered as volunteers to tally up the donations. The collective effort of the students amassed a remarkable $70,000 raised in just one day, made possible by generous donations from members of the public.
A vibrant expression of appreciation
Bonds formed among students during the freshman orientation programmes held ahead of the new academic year were further strengthened in the months-long lead-up to RAG Day. Weeks were devoted to practising and perfecting the musical and dance numbers and carefully crafting the intricate costumes and impressive props for their performances.
Finally, amid the crescendo of music beats on the afternoon of 12 August, students took to the stage with pizzazz, cheered on by their friends, seniors, and family members. Over 1,100 students captivated the audience with 14 engaging finale performances to thank the public for their donations. The dazzling performances as well as the eye-catching floats and props not only showcased the students’ creativity but also underscored their commitment to the cause.
Gracing the event were the Guest-of-Honour, Chairman of NUS Board of Trustees Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, who officiated the opening of the finale, along with NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Professor Aaron Thean, and NUSSU President Mr Lee Yat Bun.
This year marks the second time that Mr Lee Yat Bun, President of the 44th Executive Committee of NUSSU, has been at the helm, having been reappointed to a second term as NUSSU President this year. Despite overseeing the proceedings for a second year running, the event continues to be a meaningful experience for him.
“Even after more than 60 years, NUSSU RAG and Flag Day continues to inspire generations of NUS undergraduates to give back to our greater community,” said Yat Bun, noting that the event remains “one of the first touch points for NUS freshmen to be introduced to university life”. “The RAG and Flag experience is a valuable form of exposure for them to be deeply involved with volunteering at social service agencies, coming together to collect donations through flagging, and working as one to put up performances to show gratitude to the Singapore public for their unwavering support towards our fundraising efforts,” he added.
In the last 15 years, NUS students have raised more than S$4.5 million in donations for Singapore beneficiaries through the annual NUSSU Flag and RAG events.
Members of the public can continue to contribute to this worthy cause through the Giving.sg online donation platform until 13 August.
Winners of NUSSU RAG & Flag Day 2023
Every year, the line-up of RAG Day performances is awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze award prizes. Here are the winners.
- Faculty of Dentistry
- Faculty of Science
- Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
- College of Design and Engineering
- School of Computing
- Faculty of Law
- Pharmaceutical Society
- Raffles Hall
- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
- School of Business
- Eusoff Hall
- King Edward Hall and Pioneer Hall
- Temasek Hall
Overall Champion: Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
See the press release here.