What’s in a name?
Photos used with permission from Yale-NUS Singaporientation 2014
Saga. Elm. Chendana. These are the new temporary names of the three residential colleges (RCs) in Yale-NUS
College. The announcement was made during The President’s Town Hall with students by the Rectors and Vice-Rectors of all three RCs in the dining hall last Fri, Aug. 29.
When asked how the new college names came about, Rector of Elm College, Brian McAdoo said,“We looked to our neighbours at UTown where the four residential colleges are named after local trees (Tembusu, Cinnamon, Angsana (CAPT) and Khaya (RC 4). We then sought out names that would complement those. [Though] we didn’t want to be exactly like them, we also didn’t want to be too discordant with them. We thought about [using] … local indigenous flowers … but there is something about the growth and strength of a tree that’s nice imagery for a college.”
Student reactions were mixed. “I quite like Chendana, it sounds different,” Marcus Koe ’17 of Chendana college said. Alexander Meyer ’18 of Elm college, however, did not feel the same way. “It would have been nice to have some say [in the naming of the RCs]…people made jokes about Elmo,” he said. Silvia Lara ’18 of Elm college said, “I don’t have a strong opinion…
because these are temporary names…[but] I don’t like how we’re named after trees [the way] other [residences] in UTown are, because that goes against the distinction between Yale-NUS and NUS.” Meyer also felt that students should have been involved in the naming process. “I don’t know how [student input] would be manifested, but…[this process] could have been a way of bringing people closer to the RCs,” he said.
RCs are likely to be renamed after eventual donors. According to Rector McAdoo, the development office is currently seeking donors. On this, Zach Mahon ’17 of Elm college wondered, “Are any of the three donations secured that will go towards naming the RCs?”
The naming of the three RCs comes as the college expands over the summer and prepares to move to its permanent campus in 2015. “As we grow over time, and in preparation for our move, there will be increasing focus on the fundamental role RCs play within Yale-NUS,” Dean of Students Kyle Farley said. “Yale-NUS is still very fluid. My hope is that students don’t feel bound in that everything that’s decided now is permanent.”
Previously, the RCs went by “RC 1”, “RC 2” and “RC 3” respectively.