Issue 118 | Jul-Sep 2019

Planting Seeds of Good

A new community development learning programme seeks to engage NUS students in social causes.

The panel discussion featured (from left) ophthalmologist and philanthropist Dr Rupesh Agrawal; Year 2 NUS Sociology student Mr Jason Lee, who created and directed The Buddy, one of the films from 15 Shorts; Ms Kari Tamura; consultant Mr Alan Ng; and moderator Ms Corrine Ong (Business ’94), NUS Student Affairs’ Deputy Director of Community Engagement.
On 20 March, NUS Student Affairs and NUS Alumni Relations jointly launched Seeds of Good, a new community development learning programme that seeks to empower NUS students to collaborate with the community, social service organisations and corporations to promote social causes or address issues faced by communities both within NUS and beyond. 

The launch at the Shaw Foundation Alumni House featured various inspiring elements to spur students and alumni to begin their own projects to serve communities in need, such as exhibitions, film screenings and a panel discussion.

To kick off the event, Guest-of-Honour NUS Chairman Mr Hsieh Fu Hua (Business ’74) shared his thoughts and perspectives on serving the less-privileged. Speaking to a packed auditorium of students, alumni and staff, Mr Hsieh commended the event’s aim of exposing students to ongoing projects, saying, “The heart has to be touched, so by seeing, by modelling, by sharing when your heart is touched, the seed will germinate. And the germination leads you then to make a very clear, conscious commitment. So this whole question of doing good is not a flash in the pan – it shouldn’t be.”

Four short films from the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre’s 15 Shorts project were screened to raise awareness for the issues faced by the autism, migrant worker, homeless and prison communities in Singapore.
Mr Hsieh addressing students, staff and alumni at the launch of the Seeds of Good initiative.
Ongoing projects by members of the NUS community that serve various groups in need were featured in a gallery at the event. The event showcased the ground-up migrant worker’s campaign Sama Sama, founded by Ms Kari Tamura (Business ’12), which displayed a unique immersive exhibit combining art and technology to allow the public to personally experience five different stories of migrant workers; and NUS Day of Service, which will be held on 7 September this year. Register at

At a panel discussion on “The Art of Seeding Good”, Ms Tamura offered this piece of advice to the students in attendance who may want to get started on community projects, “Don’t just do it once. Do it a number of times and you would get the hang of it after a while, and you will learn where you need to improve…We have experienced thinking, ‘What are we even doing? Is this even worth it?’ It takes years sometimes to refine the methodology of what you plan to do. So keep doing and keep learning.”
Mr Hsieh hearing from members of the NUS Community Service Club about their food distribution drive Project C.A.N.
This article was first published on 27 March in NUS News at, and has been edited for The AlumNUS.
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