Showing their appreciation

SINCE last year, a group of Yale-NUS College students has been organising get-togethers for foreign workers building the new Yale-NUS campus in Dover Road.

The events allow the students from the Committee for Appreciating and Meeting People on Campus (CAMPOS) to bond with the construction workers and site staff members to thank them for their efforts.

The most recent social event that they organised was a carnival on April 17 at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) University Town (UTown) campus.

About 50 students set up booths for games such as foosball, arm wrestling, mini cricket, table tennis, basketball, darts and karaoke for over 500 workers to unwind.

Said the carnival's co-organiser John Reid: "Even though the workers were working just beside our campus, there was a big fence segregating us. We wanted to break down that social barrier.

"Through such events, we want to show the workers our appreciation, show them that their work is meaningful and that we are grateful to them. It was also a good chance to understand their work and social background."

The workers, who are mainly from India, China and Bangladesh, have been building the new

63,000 sq m campus for the past three years.

Faculty members, students and staff of the college attended the carnival and interacted with the workers. Some of the professors also played games with the workers.

"Many Indians were looking for the mini cricket game booth because it is a sport they are very familiar with. It was fantastic to see how happy the workers were playing the game," said student Puvan Raj Mohana, who was in charge of the mini cricket game.

Another popular game that saw snaking queues was the fight match on an inflatable gladiator arena. Workers and students had fun "fighting" with each other on the gladiator platform.

Said safety co-ordinator Balukannu Eyalarasan, whose favourite game at the carnival was cricket: "At other construction sites I worked, there were no events like these so I found these games very fun."

The fun and games brought everyone together. Said student volunteer Tinesh Indrarajah: "It was a good bonding event for both the workers and the students."

Last year, CAMPOS also organised a Chinese New Year dinner at the school's dining hall for about 400 workers. During the dinner, the workers sportingly formed an air-band (imaginary band), and lip-synced while playing air-instruments (imaginary musical instruments).

The committee also set up a photo booth at the Dover Road construction site and provided workers with stamps, cards and envelopes. Through this initiative, the workers could write on these cards and mail the photos to their families overseas. Said

Mr Reid: "These are small acts to show that we appreciate them and the work they do."

The students are currently staying at a college block at the UTown campus in NUS and will move to their new campus by July.
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