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SUSS SPIRIT Award 2020: Doing Heart Work

The nine students who are SUSS’s Spirit Award 2020 winners are like any other ordinary students, but they have, in their own ways, made extraordinary impact serving communities within and beyond Singapore. The heart and spirit of these nine individuals have not gone unnoticed by their peers, faculty, staff and community partners.

Serving a community close to their heart – the SUSS student population – are Kway Li Na, Phoebe Chew, and Toh Seng Hong. Committed to enhancing the student experience, these three have been involved in efforts that promote an inclusive and welcoming environment for their peers and schoolmates.

For Human Resource Management student Li Na, fostering a sense of community in SUSS is her way of paying it forward. The support she received from her friends during her polytechnic days has inspired her to extend a helping hand to other students who are struggling. To her, an action, no matter how small, can have a big impact on others.

Phoebe, a Social Work student, attributes the selfless care she has for others to the nurturing and guidance provided by her secondary school teachers. Her passion for people and desire to make a difference in the lives of others led her to join the Freshmen Befriender and SUSS Our Well Being Listeners (OWLs), supporting students at various stages of their educational journey at SUSS.

Involved in helping freshmen integrate into the school community is Marketing student, Seng Hong. He served as a student leader in both overseas and local runs of the Experiential Teambuilding (ETB) programme. Beyond providing guidance and support to his freshmen during the programme, Seng Hong was also given the opportunity to hone his leadership skills as the student leader overall-in-charge for the Shenzhen ETB run in 2019.

Stepping forward to serve different groups within the wider Singapore community are Ahmad Idris, Calvin Wong, and Darren Leow. For them, the interaction with the community allows them to gain greater insight into the lives of the people they serve.

Ahmad Idris is a Bachelor of Accounting student and the second eldest among his siblings. He embraces his identity as a big brother and takes his brotherly duties further through Learn Love Live, where he provides academic mentoring to children and youths from low-income families. His efforts to do good were not dampened by the pandemic, as he turned to technology to connect with his mentees.

An encounter with a migrant worker during a learning journey had left a deep impression on Accounting student Calvin. He led a project under Enactus SUSS which was geared towards improving the mental and physical well-being of migrant workers in Singapore. The empathy he felt for the community drove Calvin to find solutions that would address the needs and improve the lives of migrant workers.

Inspired by his peers who were trying to make a difference, Supply Chain Management student Darren Leow decided that he should step up and contribute as well. His interest in and knowledge of the mental health space in Singapore grew while he was working on his Community Service-Learning project, Project Video Befriender. To Darren, engaging in open conversations about mental health is key to ending the social stigma surrounding mental illnesses and progress towards a more understanding and inclusive society.

Given the interconnected nature of the world, no country is an island. Students are encouraged to engage with overseas communities to tackle global challenges. Grace Yeo, Marvin Bih, and Uthara Venkatachari have led projects that involved different communities in Southeast Asia. While being a leader is no walk in the park, their journey has helped them to find their voice as leaders.

Grace, a Social Work student, headed the student planning committee for STEP Sociovation Forum 2019. The 5-day programme which encouraged social innovation exposed her to the regional differences in the impact of and societal response to common global issues. Interaction with the other ASEAN youth participants allowed Grace to develop greater cultural awareness and understanding of social issues in their home countries.

Driven by his love for nature and the environment, Accounting student Marvin started a service-learning project that focuses on marine conversation and outdoor education. Leading his team to Lombok for Project CREST, they were able to contribute to coastal restoration efforts beyond Singapore’s shores.

Finance student Uthara realised that it was only by getting out of her comfort zone that she was able to grow as an individual and develop a stronger sense of self. Her experience as a leader of Project ABSL enabled her to become a more effective leader by working on her strengths and weaknesses.

Dalai Lama once said, “Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” It is with this hope that SUSS students on their journey of doing good will realise that no one is too small to make a difference.

Congratulations to the nine winners!

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