CSC President sees volunteering as a unique avenue for growth
Conversations | Nicole Foo, Managing Editor (Administration)
University creates new experiences.
In their bid to build vibrant student lives and boost resumes, it comes as no surprise that many students become preoccupied with campus activities, competitions or internships during their undergraduate years.
For others, university life may involve pursuing an interest distinct from the majority of students. This means community service for Wei Xiang, in which he has invested much of his time through the NUS Students’ Community Service Club (CSC).
Joining the CSC has allowed him to gain exposure to the needs of different social groups in Singapore. He was also motivated by a desire to discover ways in which he could contribute in helping those in need.
Now, as the President of CSC, Wei Xiang’s volunteering journey in the Club has been an enriching one filled with meaningful experiences.
The “nurturing environment” of CSC, which he likened to “family”, has propelled much of his growth in the volunteering arena by widening his perspective on what volunteering entails.
Wei Xiang shares that one of his most memorable experiences was a meeting with elderly beneficiaries from TOUCH Community Services who were visiting NUS for a biannual outing. “Many of the beneficiaries remembered me as I had attended the previous outing, which warmed my heart,” he adds.
Such instances also made him “more appreciative” of the bonds that he and other volunteers had fostered with their beneficiaries.
Though most students choose to focus on their academic education and internships, Wei Xiang believes that young people should engage in volunteering activities as well because it is a “unique avenue of growth”.
He notes that individuals are likely to bond with like-minded people in volunteer work while challenging themselves for a more significant cause.
Other benefits cited by him include oneself becoming “more introspective” and aware of the changing needs of Singapore’s communities.
In the current age of demographic transition and societal transformation, volunteering can undoubtedly be useful in fostering inclusivity and cohesiveness in society.
The gains from volunteering are numerous, as participants can develop their soft skills for personal growth and contribute purposefully to larger society.
“Cohesive in our identity as NUS volunteers, engaging to volunteers that partake in our activities and lastly, remaining relevant to community needs” - Tan Wei Xiang, 17th NUS CSC President
One of the difficult tasks Wei Xiang faces as CSC President is to ensure that the Club remains cohesive, engaging and relevant for current and new members.
“Cohesive in our identity as NUS volunteers, engaging to volunteers that partake in our activities and lastly, remaining relevant to community needs”, Wei Xiang elaborates.
While CSC has offered a wide range of volunteering opportunities for students, it continues to build on the variety of projects it can provide.
This includes collaborations with agencies like ActiveSG in addition to new initiatives which enable NUS students to propose project ideas. The Club has since been able to engage with more beneficiaries from a spectrum of sectors and organisations.
Moreover, the Club’s broader goal is to “build a strong identity” amongst students and “continuously explore ways to reach out to volunteers”.
Some students may be deterred from participating in community service, as it may not seem straightforward or easy.
However, Wei Xiang assures that the strong network of volunteers in CSC and guidance from more experienced volunteers ensure that the inexperienced will not fall behind in the Club’s activities.
At the same time, he hopes that CSC members feel empowered and possess a sense of ownership for their contributions in the Club.
Wei Xiang also encourages more students to take part in the Club’s volunteering programmes and activities, such as the upcoming Grant A Wish project this semester.
There is always something to be learnt from community service, and Wei Xiang’s commitment to it proves that it can be an enjoyable and worthwhile process.
If one is willing to set aside time for community work, it can be immensely valuable to both the volunteer and beneficiaries!
About the Interviewee: Mr Tan Wei Xiang is a third-year Mechanical Engineering undergraduate at National University of Singapore (NUS). He currently serves as the 17th President of the NUS Students’ Community Service Club (NUS CSC). Beyond his routine tasks as the Club’s President, Wei Xiang dedicates himself to communicating with other NUSSU organisations and leaders to better represent the interest of CSC.