Founded on 12 January 2000, SMU has since been at the forefront of higher education as a purveyor of transformative learning and leading-edge research. The University's mission is to equip students with broad-based expertise, and nurture creative and entrepreneurial leaders ready to face real-life challenges in the knowledge-based economy of tomorrow.
Twenty-two years on, SMU marked this milestone with the celebration of Patron's Day, during which faculty, students, alumni and industry partners reflected upon the passing year and commemorated the leading institution's remarkable history.
This year's Patron's Day festivities were held on 21 January and revolved around the theme of "balance", as SMU invited participants to recharge, refocus, and be revitalised. Inspired by the symmetrical number 22, which symbolises harmony, a line-up of on-campus and virtual activities was organised to remind us to take pause, find our centre, and recalibrate our priorities.
As with previous years, Singapore President and SMU Patron Madam Halimah Yacob graced the launch of Patron’s Day (PD22). The guest-of-honour met with the PD22 Student Organising Committee, contributed a pair of preloved sneakers to the A Pair for A Cause collection receptacle, and was introduced to several brand owners at the Makers' Market.
The curated marketplace was held for two weeks to support the local entrepreneurs and business owners from the SMU student community. SMU Maker's Market introduced 20 brands this year, offering a menagerie of wares ranging from baked goods to accessories and personal care products. The latest iteration of the shopping extravaganza was also held virtually on the PD portal, where all products were available for purchase online, with the added advantage of online workshops named "Makers-In-Action". The workshops included interviews with the makers to tell their stories and share their inspirations. Over 1,300 people shopped at The Alcove, on campus, and over 5,000 shopped online.
Alongside the Makers' Market, SMU launched the charity initiative A Pair for A Cause, held in partnership with ActiveSG to raise awareness on the massive number of shoes discarded yearly. With the help of ActiveSG, rubberised parts of preloved shoes will be recycled to help build sports facilities such as running tracks. In an effort to attract participants, SMU ran shoe-counting competitions, prizes, and gave out raffle tickets for the donated shoes.
Besides participating in acts of charity, exercise has also shown to reduce stress and increase self-efficacy — essential elements for creating work-life balance. As such, SMU has collaborated with two leading fitness companies to introduce free classes during the SMU Patron's Day festivities: Boutique spin studio SPYN and gym chain Fitness First ran complimentary classes on campus for students and staff to kickstart their fitness journeys.
Another activity introduced during SMU Patron's Day was a photo contest named “#photobalance”, during which students were invited to take photos at an installation in the SMU Connexion and post them on social media for a chance to score prizes.
And as anyone with a Spotify account might attest, music plays a major role in influencing our emotions. A highlight of PD22 was therefore a free concert headlined by local musical stars Benjamin Kheng and Annette Lee, who reprised their radio’s number one hit, The Cai Fan Song. The hybrid event was followed by performances from 11 SMU student clubs, themed after elements of equilibrium. SMU also held interviews with student influencers, asking them to share tips and tricks on attaining balance. Following Safe Management Measures, 200 people attended in person 2,300 watched online.
PD22 also introduced learning through game play. Five online games and an on-campus hunt were designed, each based on one of the six dimensions of SMU Resilience Framework – financial, social, emotional, intellectual, career, and physical.
Maintaining balance is one of the most critical aspects of our lives. Many among us find it challenging to juggle our jobs, schoolwork and personal lives — especially during tough times like a drawn-out pandemic. Consequently, PD22 served as a reminder to be kind to ourselves and balance hard work with even harder self-care. And to extend the same kindness to the community by always driving business with integrity, and success with charity.
See also Celebrate Balance at SMU’s 22nd Birthday.