By Sadia Roohi
The We Belong campaign, held in the first quarter of 2022 in celebration of NTU’s 30th anniversary, concluded successfully on 31 March. The campaign aimed to encourage students, faculty, staff and alumni to give back to the community through volunteer service and fundraising. It drew more than 4,000 donors and volunteers, and exceeded its $1 million fundraising goal.
"The NTU We Belong campaign has been all about participation and togetherness," said Ms Lien Siaou-Sze, Vice President for University Advancement. "The NTU community has shown its pride in the University, and helped to advance the remarkable work being done by our students, alumni, faculty, and staff in Singapore and beyond."
The campaign’s final signature event, NTU Giving Day, was held on 23 March. Earlier campaign events included the NTU Service Week from 22 to 29 January, and the Best Foot Forward fundraising virtual run from 18 February to 31 March.
NTU GIVING DAY
Students supporting NTU’s inaugural Giving Day on 23 March.
The 12-hour hybrid fundraising drive marked the culmination of the University's maiden We Belong campaign, bringing together the entire University community to celebrate the impact of giving and support critical causes of the University.
Most of the donations supported the NTU Bursary Fund, followed by the School Advancement Funds, NTU Priorities Fund and NTU Sustainability Fund. The funds raised will be channelled towards students’ financial aid and support for the University’s colleges, schools and programmes on campus.
At the launch event, NTU President Professor Subra Suresh said: "69 years ago, on 23 March 1953, the Hokkien Huay Kuan donated this land to build a university that we now know as NTU. Giving Day is therefore a day for gratitude to our forebearers – to all the past generations for the gifts they made – as well as a day for us to make our own history, and to provide support that will help future generations. What we raise during this 12-hour fundraising event will be used to benefit needy students, for sustainability initiatives, to support digital inclusion and advance cutting-edge research in our Colleges and Schools."
(From left): NTU Senior Vice President for Administration Ms Tan Aik Na, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad, NTU Board of Trustees member Mr Lo Kien Foh and NTU Vice President for University Advancement Ms Lien Siaou-Sze, at the launch of NTU Giving Day.
Attending the event as Guest-of-Honour, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Manpower, and an NTU alumnus, said: "An NTU education goes beyond what we learn at lectures or between the pages of books or in the laboratories – it is also about building character, developing the willingness to do more for society, to pause and lend a helping hand to one another. On the University's 30th Anniversary, it is fitting that we continue the spirit of giving and do what we can to support and improve the lives of future generations of students."
During the event, Minister Zaqy pledged a gift of S$5,000 to his alma mater.
To drive home the positive impact of how benefactors’ donations have improved the lives of recipients, the launch event featured a panel discussion with three bursary recipients, School of Social Sciences student Ms Ooi Yuan Phing, School of Materials Science and Engineering student Ms Kweh En Ling and School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Mr Mohamad Salihin Bin Mohamad Kassim, who described how philanthropy has made a difference in their lives.
(From left) Executive Director for Alumni Engagement & Annual Giving Ms Yap Su-Yin moderating the panel discussion with bursary recipients Mohamad Salihin, Kweh En Ling and Ooi Yuan Phing.
At the Giving Day event, NTU dedicated four existing Yellow Rain (Samanea Saman) trees in Yunnan Garden to the University's current President Professor Subra Suresh and former NTU Presidents: Professor Cham Tao Soon, Professor Su Guaning and Professor Bertil Andersson, in recognition of their leadership and for having laid firm foundations for the University over the past 30 years.
(Top) NTU dedicated four existing Yellow Rain (Samanea Saman) trees at the Yunnan Garden in honour of the University's current and former presidents. (Bottom) The plaque in front of the four Yellow Rain trees.
Best Foot Forward and NTU Service Week
The Best Foot Forward fundraising virtual run event which started on 18 February closed on 31 March with more than 1,000 participants clocking in a total distance of nearly 38,000km, and raising close to S$204,000 exceeding the initial fundraising goal of S$150,000. The donations will go towards the NTU Bursary Fund, School Advancement Funds and NTU Priorities Fund.
Members of the NTU Admin Council went on a walk around the university campus in support of Best Foot Forward.
Mr Eric Chua (WKWSCI/2003), Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development, rallied supporters and fundraised close to S$12,000.
President of the NTU-NIE Alumni Association Bernard Tung (NIE/2017) led the individuals' leaderboard, completing a total distance of 900km. "I joined the Best Foot Forward event as I believe that needy students should also have equal access to education. For this event, it took me two days to cross the 100km mark and 21 days to cross 500km before completing 900km by 23 March. Walking is part of my daily routine to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It gives me time to reflect, build my physical and mental resilience and perseverance," said Bernard.
Among the 84 teams who participated in the event, the Nanyang Business School (NBS) Best Foot Forward team fundraised close to S$44,500 while the University Advancement Office (UAO) team clocked almost 2,000km.
NTU Service Week, the first event under the We Belong campaign, saw close to 600 members of the global OneNTU community putting in over 3,300 volunteer hours for over 60 service initiatives, helping almost 6,000 beneficiaries in Singapore and overseas. It was launched on 22 January by Mayor of South West District, Ms Low Yen Ling, who is also a Nanyang Business School alumna.
In her speech, Mayor Low said: "On behalf of the residents staying in the South West, I want to thank the OneNTU community for curating, and for volunteering and contributing your time, skills and talent to support our vulnerable families and to help our residents in the South West District. We look forward to strengthening the collaboration and partnership in future iterations of NTU Service Week.”
Mr Kleeve Hoi (SPMS/2020), the Vice President of the NTU School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Alumni Association (SPMSAA) participated in two service projects co-organised by the Alumni Association and SPMS Student Club. They were, a science workshop for children from Methodist Welfare Services and a virtual workshop for SASCO Senior Citizens' Home. He said: “Both events left us with immense satisfaction as we took care of both the young and the elderly in our society. Our committee members felt that the event brought about a deeper meaning in life rather than just slogging for the rat race. Life is indeed not a plan to only put money in our hands.”