Written by: Preksha Banerjee
On 30th October 2018, the Nanyang Technological University Students’ Union (NTUSU) held its very first Union Town Hall, a public forum specially tailored to facilitate conversations about relevant student issues and gather feedback from all NTU students. This also serves to provide a platform for students to engage with the Executive Committee (EXCO) members of NTUSU.
The forum started off with a speech by the NTUSU President, Mr Edward Lim, who spoke about how the Union serves as a gateway of communication between the students and the university, and how important it is for students to engage with the Union.
“Most of us here spend three or four years of our lives in school and a good portion of us also stay on campus – this means that this is our second home. It’s a small town, a community where we play and study together so it’s very important that students work hand in hand with other stakeholders in the university to make this university a fruitful journey for all of us. The Union is here to see through this for everyone.”
Underscoring the mission of the Union, which is to be the voice of all students, he also highlighted the importance of doing “what is right over what is popular”, and how the role of a leader was to adhere to the same adage.
During the Q&A segment, students were encouraged to raise concerns and clarify doubts pertaining to student life in NTU. One question brought up was pertained to the safety of halls, especially at night. The Welfare Executive (Student Life) Mr Andy Teo responded that CCTV cameras are installed in most, if not all, halls to ensure the safety of students and that safety and security of the students are one of the Union’s top priorities.
An interesting question raised by another student was regarding the Union’s plans in helping NTU students stay relevant to employers. Mr Lim responded that as Singapore is moving towards a smart nation, we should also strive for a “smart campus”.
Mr Aloysius Thum, the Welfare Executive (Development), added: “The Union is currently working with Centre for IT Services (CITS) for ideas to work towards achieving a smart campus. This smart campus integrates different forms of technology, but this is still work in progress.”
Initiatives taken to progress towards this goal thus far include organising hackathons, implementing a cashless environment, and partnering with school clubs such as The Open Source Society (OSS) to help implement a smart campus. It is imperative to first collaborate with students who have the necessary technical expertise to make this vision possible, and integrate the student community afterwards.
Another noteworthy question sought to clarify how the Union is planning to increase student participation in its upcoming events and initiatives. In response, Mr Lim remarked that 2018 is the first year that the Union Town Hall event was opened to all students, having previously targeted student leaders.
Mr Lim added that another way via which NTUSU engages students is focus group discussions, where there are pertinent issues requiring detailed feedback and information.
Increasing student participation is imperative and the Union and its communications team are always seeking fresh perspectives on ways to enhance the quality of engagement with its members.
A question regarding overcrowding and waiting time at the health centre was also brought up. Mr Teo ensured that the Union had met up with Fullerton Healthcare and NTU’s management team, and a survey would be conducted to consider students’ feedback. The Union will follow up accordingly once the survey analysis is completed.
Lastly, regarding the shuttle bus services at NTU during peak hours, Mr Teo said:
“During peak hours, there are enough shuttle buses to go around. In the case where the shuttle buses are full, HAS and the Union have collaborated to implement the express shuttle bus services. The main objective is to alleviate the hotspots that HAS has identified.“
Facilitating conversation between students and the Union, the Union Town Hall has provided students with a platform to have their voices heard and also for the Union to take note of pertinent student concerns and address them properly.
Images: NTUSU Corporate Communications
NTUSU is always looking to hear from our students. If you have any feedback or ideas, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.