Letter | Saza Faradilla, Avery Simmons
Story | Peh Yi Lin
photo | Saza Faradilla
It’s been our pleasure to serve in the Student Government for the past year, and, as we leave office, we would like to speak one last time to the student body as Presidents.
When we were running for office last year, one of the questions which all the candidates struggled to define was: What is the role of the Student Government? And do we even need one? Through our Presidency, we have tried to cement the role of the Student Government as both a mediator between the administration and students and an advocate for student interests. We hope we’ve walked that fine line to your satisfaction. Along the way, we’ve realized that there is one guiding principle behind both roles: charity.
Charity is kindness and tolerance before judging others. It’s assuming the best of someone, and listening to what they have to say before making any assumptions. Whether we are working with members of the administration or members of the student body, we always find it useful to assume that our counterpart has good intentions. And usually, they do. Even if they don’t, well … at least we tried.
We love Yale-NUS. So our hope is that you will continue to treat each other with charity. The college started small, and we grew together, welcoming new batches, saying goodbye to the seniors for the first time. As we expand, let’s not lose that sense of family. Always assume the best—whether it’s of your suitemate, your professor, or even that annoying person a few floors up blaring music in the middle of the night.
In addition to treating people with charity, we also hope that you continue to take ownership of the College. As members of Student Government, often our job consists in trying to elicit student feedback- trying to get people to care. We may no longer be the pioneers of Yale-NUS, but the school is still ours. Continue to advocate for causes you care about. Take an active role in shaping the culture of the school. Be noisy if you have to. But remember to be kind, too.
We have the utmost faith in the incoming Student Government. We have faith in the student body to continue to make Yale-NUS a place of welcome and of excellence. We’ll miss serving you all.
And to be honest, we’ll miss being called “Madame Presidents.”
Wishing you a challenging and exciting year,
Saza and Avery.
What has the 16/17 Student Government done?
- Continued on the work of the Second Student Council to hold multiple dialogue sessions with students in order to finalise the name and design the school’s mascot- Halcyon the Kingfisher.
- Coordinated a Town Hall over the Events policy and dissolution of the Graduation Committee. This culminated in the securement of a student representative on the Events Committee and rewording of the initially-unclear Events policy.
- Facilitated affordable and convenient off-campus storage for students over the summer holidays.
- Organized community events such as Halloween Haunted House, Turn Up With Tan Tai Yong Vol. 1 and 2. Initiated the Class of 2017 Award for the graduating cohort. Distributed welfare packs for the entire student community.
- Compiled a Student Life Report, based on the Student Life Survey conducted, for presentation to senior administration. This has led to the clearer distinction between Wellness and Counselling in department of mental health on campus.
- Conducted a Student Life Survey and the first Academics Survey to better comprehend students’ needs and present them to the administration.
- Created the YNCyclopedia for students to access and share information about Yale-NUS with fellow students.
- Organised the 2016/17 Inter-Faculty and Inter-College Games, in which over 2,500 Yale-NUS and NUS students, faculty and staff took part in.
- Advocated Athletics-related improvements such as extending gym hours, extending gym privileges to alumni, improving gym facilities, and overhauling athletic team budgets. The Student Government also established the Athletics Council.
- Formed a Student Organisations Committee that reviewed proposals of new student organizations, allocated budget and initiated communication amongst the leadership of student organizations that belong to the same domain.
- The Student Organisations Committee worked closely with the Dean of Students Office to assist in other policy conceptions, particularly regarding the use of the student organizations room.
- Founded the Constitution Review Committee to reform the process of Council elections, shifting to a plurality method of voting and introducing class representative positions in the process.
- Planned and executed the elections for the Fourth Student Council based on the Constitutional changes.