By Crescencia Chay
27 February 2018
In the modern era, February is the month of romantic love, booming chocolate sales, and a dizzying whirlwind of pink, red, and white.
But the 19th and 20th of February saw the NTU student body acknowledging a more universal definition of love – that of service and gratitude.
For two days, NTUSU held the yearly We Say Thank You (WSTY) event, spearheaded by NTUSU Student Engagement Executive, Vanessa Ong.
The aim of WSTY sees the NTU student body coming together to thank and appreciate ‘the unsung heroes of the NTU community’, such as our campus shuttle bus drivers, cleaners, security guards, and food vendors who work tirelessly to make NTU our home away from home.
Boards were put up for the NTU student body to paste their notes of gratitude. These notes would then be passed to the respective heads of department for distribution to these individuals.
Aside from such gestures, students who participated were handed balloons, goodie bags, and specially designed ‘thank you’ cards to be gifted to anyone else they wanted to thank.
“Our intention was to create a ‘pass-it-on’ ripple effect,” explains Ong, “One group of students even took a stack of these cards and went around giving them to the cleaners. It was an extremely heartwarming and lovely sight.”
But planning WSTY was not all hearts and flowers.
To provide an inclusive and comprehensive picture of the work that NTU’s unsung heroes do, the team filmed them in their respective areas of work, in real time. During filming for the publicity video, Ong and her team were met with the dilemma of balancing the ‘raw emotions’ and ‘intention’ of WSTY with the cinematic appeal of producing a good video.
“We decided to just film the subjects’ daily lives at work, in their rawest and unfiltered state.”
“During the process of filming, most of them were shy and reluctant to be filmed, which spoke volumes about how these individuals often silently provide acts of service for us, but don’t expect any form of return.”
Yet many of the individuals filmed revealed that ‘in spite of the tiring nature of their jobs’ most students are ‘actually very polite’, and all in all, these individuals ‘generally enjoy working in NTU’.
Ong was heartened to see that the NTU student body was forthcoming in writing their notes of appreciation. She hopes that this spirit will be sustained, and that students will ‘continue going the extra mile to show their appreciation’.
“The spirit of service and gratitude is a cycle that has a great impact on the overall community… I believe that all of us should try to perform a good deed every day, for the good of making others happy, as well as for personal growth and fulfilment.”