Just like other students, their schedules are packed with lectures, writing essays and completing projects. But that has not stopped 10 SUSS students from setting aside time and energy to help make a difference in society.
In recognition of their efforts, the 10 students -- 6 from Accountancy, 2 from Marketing, and 1 each from Social Work and Finance -- have been named as winners of the SUSS 2018 Spirit Award.
This year marked the first time that the ceremony for the Award -- which was introduced in 2015 -- was held under the SUSS name. The Award recognises SUSS full-time students who reflect the "heart" part of our educational philosophy of "Head, Heart and Habit".
For us, a graduate with Heart is one who is socially conscious with a desire to make positive changes in society. And this year's Spirit Award winners once again epitomize the kind of graduate whom SUSS strives to nurture.
Take Ching Wen Li (Accountancy Class of 2016), who helps out at the Humanitarian Organization for Migrant Economics as part of her service-learning project. There, she manages cases of alleged mistreatment of domestic workers in Singapore. As a service-learning mentor, Wen Li was also involved in organising the Service-Learning Fair 2017, where she helped new students to have a greater understanding of service-learning.
Then, there's Rayner Loi Kit (Finance Class of 2015), who started his own social enterprise, aimed at reducing food wastage in Singapore. His enterprise has won awards at external entrepreneurship competitions and funding from investors, including SPRING Singapore. Rayner was also one of the leaders of the student committee responsible for supporting the Student Teambuilding Programme in 2017.
Students Eileen Neo (Accountancy Class of 2014) and Jeffrey Yong (Accountancy Class of 2015) make use of their participation in the Gobi Desert Challenge to support a good cause -- raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Singapore (MDAS).
Jeffrey was the one who proposed that Team Gobi-yond, which took part in the 112km desert trek, help to raise funds for the association.
Despite being a quiet individual, Jeffrey stepped out of his comfort zone and took the initiative to single-handedly drive the engagement with MDAS. He also spent time interacting with the beneficiaries so that Team Gobi-yond could have better ideas on how to engage them. Jeffrey is so passionate about serving the community that he is currently engaged in two service-learning projects.
Eileen receiving her award from Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, SUSS.
Eileen herself is no stranger to raising funds for charity. When she was chairperson for TOUCH Community Services, she mobilized more than 2,000 volunteers from 55 schools to raise more than $125,000 for the organization. Her participation in the Gobi challenge has enabled her to understand the daily struggles of people with muscular dystrophy.
Two other students who had also spent time overseas for a worthy cause are Kenneth Lim and Nur Saiyidah Sainal, co-leaders for the international service-learning project in Nepal called Bricks of Hope, where they helped primary school students to improve their command of English.
Kenneth addressing the audience during the SUSS Spirit Award Ceremony on Jan 24 (Wed).
Apart from being co-leaders for the Nepal project, Kenneth works with the elderly as part of his local service-learning project, while Nur Saiyidah is team leader for the service-learning project, EQUAL.
Aaron Lim Xiang Xin (Accountancy Class of 2016) made his mark as the pioneer of the Bone Marrow Donor Programme in SUSS, where he worked with over 30 students to promote and educate the public about misconceptions and myths of bone marrow transplants. Aaron, who serves as an elderly companion at Bright Vision Hospital, also volunteered as a student leader for the 2017 OBS Teambuilding run.
One of this year's winners is a man in blue, sometimes. Goh Zheng Yih (Marketing Class of 2014) has been a Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) in the Singapore Police Force since 2012, performing regular policing duties under Tanglin Police Division. He has committed an average of 400 hours per year in police volunteering activities, which earned Zheng Yih the VSC High-Performance Award from 2014 to 2016.
Chew Jun Sheng (Accountancy Class of 2016) did the university proud when he represented SUSS and Singapore at the JAPAN-ASEAN student conference in 2017. During the conference, he was appointed as a representative to deliver a speech and conference findings. Jun Sheng also teaches at a student care in Queenstown Primary School.
For Ng Jin Han, her desire to help others has led her to take on two service-learning projects, relating to youths at risk and special needs communities respectively. Jin Han hopes the two projects will better develop her capabilities as a social worker in-training.
Plaques for the award winners!
Unlike other awards, the Spirit Award is not open for application, but by nomination only. All nominations are reviewed by a selection committee. This year also marked the first time that we started receiving nominations from external organisations, which shows how our students have showcased their “Heart” and benefiting our community.
And more Hearts are certainly needed all the time. As former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said: "If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever."
Our congratulations to the 10 winners!