Photos taken by Dikaios Pang (Law + USP, Class of 2021) and Lee Qing Ping (English Language + USP, Class of 2021)
A major new component of the University Scholars Club Freshmen Orientation Programme this year is a Batch Project. It aims to bring USP freshmen together to do something meaningful, and replaces the participation of USP in the NUS Rag. For the inaugural project, our freshmen decided to bring art to everyday people and places. Themed “Art in the Heartlands”, their Batch Project delivered a community art piece for Ghim Moh residents, and a National Day performance for Telok Blangah and Clementi residents.
For about a month, our freshmen and seniors conducted informal interviews with the residents of Ghim Moh, and immersed themselves in the daily activities at various places in Ghim Moh. This enabled them to conceptualise an art piece based on the everyday life and unique experiences of the residents, one that the latter could relate to. They then collaborated with various grassroots groups in Ulu Pandan (ward overseeing Ghim Moh) to turn the concept into reality. This happened in the second week of August, where over 100 USP students came together to create a community art piece – in the form of painted wall murals – at the void deck of Block 18, Ghim Moh Road. These murals capture the essence of what take place in the community, and feature prominent landmarks like the Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre, and Ulu Pandan Community Club.
Mr Christopher de Souza, Member of Parliament and Advisor to Holland-Bukit Timah (encompassing Ghim Moh and Ulu Pandan) Grassroots Organisations, came to see our students at work. He, together with USP Directors A/P Kang Hway Chuan and A/P Albert Teo, got creative with the paint brushes too! They were impressed with the artwork but more importantly, heartened to see different groups of people working together on it. Our students expressed that residents were welcoming and appreciative of the murals. Many paused to look at the painting in progress, with compliments like “it really brightens up our place!” Some residents also joined in the painting. Our students hoped they have contributed something that could serve as a talking point, and that strengthens the bond within the community.
The second part of the Batch project saw 27 USP student dancers perform a mash-up of three songs at the Telok Blangah National Day Dinner on 4 August, as well as the Clementi National Day Street Carnival on 9 August. The dancers prepared and rehearsed for the performance from as early as June, and it was their way of contributing to the community’s celebration of our country’s birthday.
USP Director A/P Kang told all freshmen in an email that, “We are very proud of your Batch Project – it is an effort to make a real difference so we hope that it [annual Batch Project] will continue.” Indeed, it is all about making an impact in society, in big and small ways. The Batch Project – having a heart for the community – is a modest start in the right direction. So, to our freshmen, you have left your mark! We hope you will have a fantastic first semester.