27 April 2018: Legacy, the gift that keeps giving

By Yip Jie Ying & Joella Lopes-Lam | Images as Credited

Having started many traditions at Yale-NUS College, including last year’s Senior Class Gift, Yale-NUS’s inaugural group of alumni – the Class of 2017 – came together in February this year to begin yet another tradition: Alumni Giving. Spearheaded by a group of ten Giving Ambassadors, the inaugural campaign ‘Legacy, the Gift that Keeps Giving’ aimed to encourage alumni to reflect on the legacy they had left behind at the College through the act of giving back and fostering a strong culture of giving at Yale-NUS.

A collage featuring the inaugural Alumni Giving Ambassadors with their Halcyon plushies. Image by Jiang Haolie
Back row (left to right): Amelia Chew, Aleithia Low, Willie Khoo, David Chia, Christopher Tee
Front row (left to right): Chia Teck Yuke, Anshuman Mohan, Jolanda Nava, Andrea Lee, Xie Yihao

With alumni based both locally and overseas, the ambassadors engaged their peers through various social media initiatives. The campaign kicked off with a publicity video that reminisced their four years at the College and reminded them of the legacy they had built as Yale-NUS’ pioneer class. These initiatives, which focused largely on memorable moments that the class had shared during their time at Yale-NUS, served to evoke sentiments of nostalgia among them.

Christopher Tee, who currently works as a Dean’s Fellow at Yale-NUS, sees the act of giving as part of community building which is an integral facet of College life. Inspired by the various forms of support that he had received as a student, he decided to take on the role of Giving Ambassador to build a strong culture of giving back to the Yale-NUS community.

“In the past, I tended to overestimate the cost of giving while underestimating the benefits that the community received. After doing it for a while, I think the proportions are actually reversed. If the gift multiplies itself, then giving back becomes a ‘no-brainer’ for me,” he shared.

Some of the Alumni Giving Ambassadors are pictured prior to an alumni event. Image by Rachel Phoon

Other members of the Class of 2017 also came forward to share with their peers about the positive impact that financial aid had on their college experience. One of them was Annette Wu, currently an Executive at the Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE), who decided to give back as a show of gratitude for the opportunities she had as well as to reinforce the strong sense of community spirit.

Alumni donors and current staff members Annette Wu (left) and Christopher Tee (right). Image by Lynn Ee

“I decided to contribute to the Alumni Gift because my experience at Yale-NUS has taught me so much about how I would like to live life and to be a part of a caring and supportive community. As our alumni pool grows, I hope that we expand this sense of community in the groups that we come to work and live with,” she shared.

Annette’s desire to give back to the College was additionally shaped by the various experiential learning programmes that she had taken part in as a student, such as a study abroad programme at the Pitt in the Himalayas and an internship in Cambodia.

“My education has been centred around a very special spirit of generosity, of which financial giving is one facilitating factor,” she added. “The Alumni Gift is just one way of continuing to demonstrate our commitment to this sense of community and to the experience of our peers at Yale-NUS.”

The alumni gave towards various college priorities that resonated with them such as financial aid, scholarships, international opportunities and the College’s endowment fund. Several alumni also decided to show their continued support by giving regular monthly pledges to the College. One of them is Anshuman Mohan, who supports international scholarships through his pledge.

“As the recipient of a generous merit-based award from Yale-NUS, I thought it was only fitting to give to the International Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships that support international students such as myself,” he said.

Like Christopher and Annette, Anshuman also believes in the importance of paying it forward and echoed his classmates’ sentiments. “It will be a long time before I’ll be able to give back to Yale-NUS everything it gave me,” he said. He also joked, “The amount, I think, is inconsequential, but I like to think of this pledge as a good habit! In all honesty, my monthly pledge to Yale-NUS is grateful acknowledgement of how much it has shaped and honed me as an individual.”

Visit the Alumni Giving webpage to find out more about Alumni Giving at Yale-NUS.