So much has happened over the last few months: The inaugural president was announced in May; Yale-NUS College officially broke ground in July and the first faculty and first students met for the very first time in August for a brainstorming session to craft the Yale-NUS curriculum.
Amidst the many other milestones marked, Yale-NUS College ran our first community service project with 4PM (Persatuan Persuratan Pemuda Pemudi Melayu) during their signature event, Ramadan on Wheels (ROW).
Together with some 1200 other volunteers, 14 members of Yale-NUS’ faculty and students helped out in this year’s ROW at ITE College East on the 11 August. During the event, we entertained the children while their parents were off buying groceries; and afterwards, we helped to prepare and serve the food and then partake in the giant iftar dinner with the beneficiary families (the dinner was served on dulang, or very large traditional Malay plates, with eaters sitting around them in circles).
For the 14 of us who went for ROW, partaking in the iftar dinner was indeed an eye-opener. Even though I’m from Singapore, this was still a unique experience, as I have never taken part in the breaking of fast during Ramadan. After the event, Associate Professor Mira Seo, who joined Yale-NUS from the University of Michigan, shared with me that this was a great cultural experience for the faculty members, many of whom are from outside Singapore.
Though we played a small role in ROW, it was a good start for Yale-NUS College’s community service outreach. After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We would build on the experiences we gained from this project, and together with ideas from the rest of the faculty and student body, come up with larger and more innovative service projects to benefit our community.