YNPACt is still fledgling, and you probably haven’t heard much from us beyond calls for interest, surveys, and whatnot. But since our inception, we’ve envisioned YNPACt serving alumni and surviving into posterity: we want to bring our alumni community together to address problems we care deeply about, like human rights, climate change, conservation and migration. We’ve been thinking long-term, and we have big dreams: what if we became an independent organisation and funded our own projects? What if we hosted an annual conference on decolonising non-profit and aid work in the Southeast Asian context, and brought in alumni - now successful non-profit and business leaders - to speak? We’ve been thinking about how to partner with Alumni Affairs, CIPE, Dean of Students, Development Office, faculty and administrative staff, to provide support to alumni passionate about social impact.
When the news that Yale-NUS will close in a few years broke on Friday, we were paralysed — as many of you have been — unable to envision what our alumni community would look like beyond 2025, and the role that YNPACt could play.
However, after a few days of banding together, reminiscing, being angry, and sharing our appreciation for the unique experiences we had ... we realised that regardless of any changes to the decision, and how the Yale-NUS experience continues in any future institution, there is one thing about which we (Aleithia, Sylvia and Gideon) remain convinced: that we want to bring the ethos of the College, and the shared desire to give back, beyond the Yale-NUS community.
The opportunities for field work, funded social impact research initiatives, classes with professors who pushed us to confront the capitalist machine and the communities it has affected, the student-led campaigns to cheer on the migrant workers who built our campus, fundraising drives for typhoon victims — these experiences shaped the way we see the world, its underlying structural injustices, our role in it, and inspired us to take responsibility and try to make a difference, even in small ways.
We fear that Yale-NUS’ closure means we will lose institutional credibility, resources, and upcoming batches of new alumni, to sustain us. But it also strengthens our resolve to support the ~2000 students and alumni that will have graduated from our College, to ensure that as many alumni as possible are supported and equipped in their own journeys to do good.
YNPACt will continue to facilitate the sharing and consolidation of what we have learnt as an alumni body, and how we are applying the Yale-NUS experience to our social impact pursuits. We see this as the College’s intangible legacy; we now seek to honour and amplify it.
To kick things off, on Thursday 16 September 2021, we’re inviting all of you to join us for an evening of collective brainstorming, sharing and learning, as we pin down the aspects of Yale-NUS that have inspired, supported and shaped our desire to engage in social impact work.
While this will be a space to memorialise and reminisce, we also want our shared learnings to drive us to embody the Yale-NUS experience and ethos beyond the institution. We look forward to seeing you there!