story Neo Huiyuan and Yip Jieying, Contributing Reporters

The change of T-shirt text emphasizing ‘Yale-NUS’ to ‘Team NUS’ this year raised issues of identity and recognition. (Xie Yihao)

The change of T-shirt text emphasizing ‘Yale-NUS’ to ‘Team NUS’ this year raised issues of identity and recognition. (Xie Yihao)


“Ten faculties, one college”: This regulation guides the organization of the Inter-Faculty Games (IFGs). However, some Yale-NUS College students felt that this was not reflected in the 2015 IFG T-shirt design, and some were not keen on wearing the shirt and even threatened not to compete.

In the 2014 IFGs, ‘Yale-NUS’ was the centerpiece of the T-shirt, in block print, while ‘Team NUS’ was in smaller subscript. In the 2015 IFGs, however, the design was reversed. While some Yale-NUS students were concerned that the shirts diluted Yale-NUS’ identity as an autonomous college, the main concern of the National University of Singapore (NUS) organizers was the aesthetic appearance.

When Yale-NUS joined the IFGs in 2014, the Yale-NUS administration indicated to the NUS Office of Student Affairs (OSA) that some students wanted the T-shirts to prominently display the college name, as Yale-NUS is recognized as an autonomous college and not a faculty. This was reflected in the 2014 design. However, when the NUS Students’ Sports Club (SSC) took over the organizing of the IFGs this year, it was given free reign to choose the design of the shirt. It was aware of the communication between Yale-NUS and OSA in 2014. Through a vote, which only Yale-NUS opposed, the committee decided to revert to the old design emphasizing ‘Team NUS’, said Tinesh Indrarajah ’17

Aesthetic concerns among NUS athletes, voiced in 2014, were the main reason for the T-shirt design change. In 2014, some faculty names were shortened, such as ‘Engin’ (Engineering) and  ‘Sci’ for Science. Some students felt the use of short forms “did not make sense” and they “weren’t very used to” the design in which their faculty names were in larger print, said an SSC Vice Project Director, NUS student Tan Hsiang Yi. OSA also told the SSC to “create a more cohesive identity” among the faculties as ‘Team NUS’.

Another concern was the color schemes of the shirts, given that Yale-NUS, Faculty of Science (FoS) and Faculty of Law all wanted similar shades of blue. Tan said the FoS had to give up their shade of royal blue to Yale-NUS in 2014, and use sky blue instead. Some FoS athletes were displeased. The SSC hopes that the new designs would better reflect the color preferences.

Project Director of IFGs 2015 Bryan Goh said that from the perspective of NUS, the 2014 T-shirt was partly a desire to try out a new design rather than an acknowledgement of Yale-NUS identity.

Refusal to wear the shirt initially ran the risk of disqualification. The Yale-NUS Office of the President later gave permission for students to not wear the 2015 T-shirts, although it cautioned that this would deviate from student representatives’ decision, said Casey Nagy, Director of the President’s Office. Most athletes participating appear to have worn the official shirt.

Alex Meyer ’18, who represented Yale-NUS in the IFGs for both years, said that some athletes were concerned Yale-NUS would be seen as just another school of NUS. But he felt that wearing the ‘Team NUS’ shirt was a show of respect to NUS. “As they extended the invitation [to play in the IFGs], we sort of need to be a little bit grateful and play by their rules a bit,” he said. Asher Chua ’19, who is playing for soccer, frisbee and handball this year, felt it was not worth gaining an identity at the expense of our relationship with NUS.

The IFGs started on Aug. 29 and will end on Sept. 16.

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