By Baoyun Chelsea Cheo | Images by Karen Khoo
(from left) Friends of Yale-NUS Ms Chong Siak Ching, Professor Khoo Hoon Eng and Mr Khong Mun Keong presented a cheque for the Yale-NUS Alumni Study Award to Yale-NUS College, which was received by President Pericles Lewis
On 25 August 2016, Yale-NUS College hosted a dinner for donors and friends of the College at its Black Box Theatre to mark the launch of the Yale-NUS Alumni Study Award. Established by various friends of the College, alumni of its parent institutions, as well as organisations such as the Singapore Tote Board, the award represents their belief in the vision of the College. It also hopes to inspire future Yale-NUS alumni to pay it forward and continue the tradition of giving back to their alma mater.
In his opening speech, President Pericles Lewis shared that Yale-NUS actively provides financial aid to all students in need as the College firmly believes that no deserving student should be deprived of a Yale-NUS education because of financial constraints.
“We are committed to providing financial support to students either through scholarships that recognise academic excellence, or through study awards that cater to needy students. Financial aid therefore remains a key fundraising priority here at Yale-NUS,” he said.
Apart from the launch of the award, which was the highlight of the event, donors and friends of the College also had the opportunity to understand first-hand the impact of their gifts as recipients of various financial aid schemes spoke about their experiences at Yale-NUS thus far.
Chua Wan Ping (Class of 2017), an environmental studies major, shared how the Toh Chin Chye Study Award had given her the greatest gift of all in her journey here at the College – time.
“College is one of the golden periods in our life. We find ourselves able to spend time exploring subjects, activities and internships. However, when less privileged students have to work, it can mean sacrificing much of these activities,” she said.
Making good use of time that she might otherwise have had to spend working to finance her education, Wan Ping has seized numerous opportunities to enrich her college life, such as building I’dECO: Yale-NUS Sustainability Movement. The student group recently organised Singapore’s inaugural Sustainable Solutions Network conference, which drew about 200 participants. Wan Ping also explored areas of interest outside of her chosen major, such as attending an experiential learning trip to China under the Tan Chin Tuan Chinese Culture & Civilisation programme, where she learnt more about Chinese culture and literature.
In addition to celebrating the College’s diverse student community and sharing about the impact of gifts to the College, the dinner also highlighted the varied passions and talents of students. Several students conceptualised, planned and executed the overall aesthetic of the Black Box Theatre, transforming the venue into an intimate and sophisticated setting, designed to showcase the growth of the College.
Guests enjoying the evening’s programme in the creatively lit and decorated Black Box Theatre
David Chia (Class of 2017) conceptualised the event’s overall design direction, drawing inspiration from traceries on the rain and sunscreens, which he termed as “visual representations of unseen motifs on campus”. He also shared that the photo-chandelier installations aimed to document the impact generated by the donors in a visually appealing manner.
The evening’s programme also showcased two performing arts student groups. The Yale-NUS Bhangra Troupe kicked off the evening with an energetic Bhangra dance performance at the Performance Hall Foyer, while The Scheduling Club serenaded guests with three lovely a cappella tunes.
Mr Yeo Keng Joon (left) was among guests who mingled and shared laughs over dinner
Guests were enthralled by both the décor and the performances, and smiles all around bore witness to the fact that many had enjoyed an evening of good food, networking and celebrating the talents of our students, some of whom are in their senior year and are soon set to become alumni themselves.
“The dinner was well-organised, the ambience was good, and the décor and the setting was awesome. The sharing by the student beneficiaries was also inspiring and moving,” said Mr Yeo Keng Joon, a member of the NUS Alumni Student Advancement Committee.
Giving generously to the Yale-NUS Alumni Study Award, along with some of his friends and fellow alumni, Mr Yeo encourages future alumni to give back to Yale-NUS.
“I am hopeful that this study award will provide a platform for the alumni graduating each year to contribute to the college. This can then help to add on to the number of study awards to be given out each year to financially needy students at Yale-NUS,” he added.