Published on 15 Feb 2023

Bringing a smile to someone’s face

From befriending migrant workers to cooking in a soup kitchen, NTU alumni had fun volunteering and giving back according to their interests.

By Sadia Roohi

Many hands make work light. This is true for various groups of NTU alumni, faculty and staff as well as students who contributed their service to society as NTU gears up for its annual Service Week 2023.

NTU Welfare Services Club Alumni Association and the School of Materials Science and Engineering Alumni Association, for instance, rounded up close to 70 volunteers from their networks to volunteer for a good cause.

Migrants DayNTU Welfare Services Club Alumni Association (WSCAA) and volunteers from other student clubs arranged activities for migrant workers in conjunction with International Migrants’ Day. Photo credit: NTU United Nations Student Association Humanitarian Wing

Enthusiastic alumni from the NTU Welfare Services Club Alumni Association joined hands with volunteers from other student clubs to organise activities for migrant workers at the Befriend Our Migrant Friends carnival last December. Held in conjunction with International Migrants Day, the carnival was a show of appreciation to migrant workers for their contributions to Singapore. The volunteers organised carnival games, taught participants how to make friendship bracelets and suncatchers, encouraged them to try local snacks and helped them to write postcards to their loved ones.

“We hope to encourage and reignite the spirit of volunteerism among alumni members and let them experience the positive chain effect because the community will be better off as a whole when we uplift others,” said Mr Wilson Tong (EEE/2018), Executive Vice President of NTU Welfare Services Club Alumni Association. 

This volunteer activities constitutes one of the 80 volunteer events in the line-up of NTU Service Week, being organised for the second year as part of this year’s We Belong campaign. The spectrum of activities is wide-ranging and spans across community service needs in health and well-being, sustainability, digital inclusion, and social welfare in collaboration with community partners.

Willing Hearts kitchenMSEAA members volunteer at the Willing Hearts kitchen which distributes about 7,000 meals a day.

Over at the NTU School of Materials Science and Engineering Alumni Association, Dr Iuna Tsyrulneva (MSE/2020) led the alumni association as its Assistant Programme Head to conduct meal preparation and cooking at Willing Hearts, which is a well-known soup kitchen in Singapore among volunteers and is reliant on public volunteers to dish out some 7,000 meals every day, for a couple of times. 

She said: “I first volunteered at Willing Hearts six years ago and that first-time experience sparked my interest to volunteer more regularly. With households badly hit by the pandemic, we realised that more beneficiaries needed hot meals, so I organised a few sessions for my alumni friends to lend a hand,” she said.

SWCDCStudents, staff and alumni from NTU volunteered on 15 January to pack and distribute festive gift packs at Boon Lay Zones C and D with the South West CDC. Minister for National Development Mr Desmond Lee (front, in grey top) joined the volunteers at Zone D.

One of NTU's key partners for Service Week is the South West Community Development Council. It partnered with the University on projects related to social welfare and sustainability. Before Chinese New Year, NTU volunteers packed and distributed festive goodies at Hong Kah North, Brickland and Boon Lay to bring cheer to some 750 seniors and 1,200 households. 

Beach clean-ups to protect the environment are one of the popular activities this year where more alumni associations have embarked on clean-ups in the past year. Besides typical beach clean-ups, the alumni associations of NTU’s Asian School of the Environment, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and School of Biological Sciences will jointly conduct a kayaking clean-up event on 26 February, where volunteers will pick up floating trash to prevent it from washing up onto the shores. 

While giving back to society is important, it doesn’t have to take the fun out of volunteering. Iuna said: “We had fun chatting with each other while meal prepping and we get to expand our network, especially since we graduated from the same School but may not know one another. Some alumni brought their children along, giving them an early exposure to the concept of altruism. Volunteering is a rich experience as we get to meet fellow volunteers or beneficiaries outside of our social circles and make new friends – this in itself is more rewarding than financial gain.”

Alumni, staff and students of NTU are welcome to join in volunteer events during NTU Service Week from 25 February to 4 March 2023. Find out more online and register via the “Zeles” mobile app.

Related Topics