Written by: Shermaine Lim and Spriha Mishra
On 2nd March 2019 (Saturday), the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) welcomed the public with open arms during its annual Open House, co-organised by the NTU Students’ Union (NTUSU). There were various booths dotted around campus, bustling with energy from the North Spine all the way to the Quad, encapsulating NTU’s dynamic and exuberant campus life. Over 23,000 visitors traversed the grounds. It was a sight to behold.
Eager to learn more about NTU from our fellow professors and student representatives, prospective students and parents explored the campus with their goodie bag in tow. Catching snippets of campus life, they were treated to a multitude of artistic and cultural showcases, spanning from fiery dance exhibitions to live band performances.
To boot, a comprehensive list of activities was available for visitors to choose from. This included lecture talks to explore academic interests, course booths where both professors and students shared about their experiences in their course, and club booths which visitors could try their hand at the array of club activities in NTU. Additionally, there were also guided campus and school tours occurring every 15 minutes to allow prospective students to get a glimpse of our different faculties and halls of residence.
This year, there was a change in the distribution of goodie bags. As part of NTU’s goal of being a “smart campus”, NTU’s President, Professor Subra Suresh, has launched the oneNTU initiative “ECHO” in August 2018. It integrates the four concepts “Eco-Friendly”, “Connected”, “Healthy” and “oneNTU”. The initiative strives to promote a smart, eco-friendly and healthy campus, preserving resources and reducing wastage for future generations.
Keeping in line with the promise of orchestrating an eco-friendly campus, visitors were encouraged to use empty bags distributed at the various counters to pick up items they want through the perusal of the different booths, instead of picking up pre-packed bags, reducing of unnecessary waste. Brochures and printed material were also kept to a minimum. For example, instead of distributing paper vouchers, visitors were directed to scan a QR code where they were able to download online vouchers from sponsor-partners.
Faith, a student helper at the booth for the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, shared that the main concerns of students were mostly academic and job-related. She stated that the booth really aided prospective students in their understanding of the different schools.
Communication studies can be an enigma, and many students are often concerned with future job prospects in the field and cut-off points. The open house really helps to reiterate what we stand for and what we offer in the school.Faith
However, prospective students were not only concerned with the academic aspect of the university. Observation this year indicated that they were also interested in finding out more about the multi-faceted aspects of campus life.
Despite the shift of location to the Quad this year, NTUSU’s booth was of interest to many and drew a huge crowd, ostensibly larger than in previous years. At the booth, NTUSU’s core mission was elucidated – to empower the voices, advocate the interests, and enhance the vibrancy of campus life of NTU students. Activities were held concurrently, such as a simple Kahoot game that tested visitors’ knowledge of NTU and its history. Winners were rewarded with a variety of limited edition merchandise representing the student identity.
Many prospective students approached Ussociates (members of the Union) at the booth to learn about the different committees of NTUSU, and there was much engaging dialogue regarding the events and initiatives that had been implemented thus far. Several students also expressed their interest in partaking in the multitude of student activities and societies upon joining the university.
President of NTUSU, Mr Edward Lim, was happy to hear about how future students were already keen on finding opportunities for school involvement and leadership development.
It is heartening to see that students are not only looking at academic ventures but also at how they can contribute back to society and campus life in order to make the university more enriching for everyone.Edward Lim, President of NTUSU
NTU Open House is traditionally co-organised by the NTUSU Open House Committee, one of the 23 committees of the Union (including the Executive Committee). Students are thus the core force driving the decision-making and planning process of the event, while collaborating with various administrative bodies of the university.
The large-scale nature of this festival meant that the planning process is not only a challenging one, but it takes time – in fact, the formation of the NTUSU Open House Committee begins at least half a year before the actual event. Interviews are conducted during the NTUSU’s Annual Recruitment Drive, held around the beginning of every academic year, to match the interest of student-volunteers to specific subdivisions within the team. This includes publicity, events planning, and business liaison among others. Another similar committee within the Union that revolves around a flagship event is the NTU Fest Committee.
Planning an event, much less one catering to over 23,000 visitors, is easier said than done. Our students dedicate at least one semester of their time, all the while juggling their academics and other co-curricular activities. This commitment on their part is what illuminates the fiery spirit of our Ussociates, allowing NTUSU to consistently give back to the NTU community and its students. Similarly, our thanks go out to all of NTU’s student representatives, staff, and faculty members whose combined efforts made NTU Open House 2019 a fantastical success.
Anders and Zuriel, prospective students hoping to join the National Institute of Education (NIE), shared their perspectives with us.
We were not really sure what to expect, so we came to the open house to get a better idea of NTU. We had a lot of fun, and we enjoyed ourselves.Anders & Zuriel, prospective students
If there’s one thing to be said, what our visitors have experienced at the Open House is merely a fraction of the exhilarating ride ahead. We can’t wait to see our next batch of freshmen embark on their enriching and adventurous trajectory in life with NTU!
Images: NTUSU Corporate Communications