Be the Change You Want to See – A Student Change-maker in NUS

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jeff lee

(Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Lee) 

As the recently elected President of the NUS Students’ Union (NUSSU) 39th Executive Committee, Jeffrey Lee oversees over 300 undergraduate appointment holders to work towards a forward-looking Union that is inclusive, relevant and engaging, but most importantly, one that provides accountability and wholehearted service to the student body. NUSSU The Ridge is honoured to get up close and personal with the economics and applied mathematics undergraduate on his journey in NUSSU.


1) Why did you join NUSSU?

Back when I was in Year 1, I wanted to join the Science Flag committee. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline. So I ended up joining the NUSSU Flag committee instead. Eventually I progressed from being a Flag Project Director, to the Student Life Secretary last year and this year I was elected as President. When I was in Year 1, I can assure you that I didn’t expect myself to ever run for Presidency. In fact, when I was at my Freshmen Inauguration Ceremony, the 35th NUSSU Council President, Yi Da, was giving a speech about NUSSU and the NUS Student Life. I still vividly remember thinking to myself, “Who on earth would run for Presidency in the University Students’ Union?” (laughs) And here I am, 4 years later. I think this is reflective of life. In life, a lot of things are unexpected and along the way, you simply just need to take a leap of faith and see how it goes from there.

2) What are the activities you spearheaded in NUS?

A major renovation of the Student Lounge and Study Room at the Yusof Ishak House (YIH). I also kick-started LoveNUS, which consists of a series of projects aimed at making life in NUS more meaningful and enjoyable for students and staff. This year, the Union is also focusing on our branding efforts, to make ourselves more engaging and relevant to the student body.

3) What inspired you to run for 39th NUSSU President? What is on your agenda for the 39th EXCO? 

My team! I have a great team that believes in me and they are my best inspiration.

I only have one agenda for my term, and that is to work towards a forward-looking Union that is inclusive, relevant and engaging, but most importantly, one that provides accountable and wholehearted service to the student body.

4) What is your greatest takeaway from NUSSU?

The memories, the learning and the love from everyone who I have come across in my NUSSU journey.

5) What is the most memorable memory in your NUSSU journey?

It was definitely the NUSSU Flag Day in 2016. Orientation was cancelled except for NUSSU Rag and Flag that year. Despite the pessimism in 2016, my team still pulled ourselves together and was determined to run NUSSU Rag and Flag as smoothly as possible. Surprisingly, we managed to break the record for the amount raised and raised over $472,000 for our beneficiaries. My team and I were overjoyed and proud of ourselves!

6) What kind of people do you look out for to join your committee?

People who are open-minded and humble. I look out for people who are willing to listen and try new things, and yet be willing to get their hands dirty when the need arises.

7) Who is your role model?

To be honest I do not have a role model. I strongly believe that there is always something you can learn from everyone you come across.

8) What are your hobbies?

There is a joke that is always circulating within my NUSSU Exco that NUSSU is my hobby. Truth be told, I don’t really have a hobby. I used to collect coins and notes when I was in primary school, but I have since gotten over it.

9) Say a word of appreciation to people in NUSSU who have been a great help to you.

Thank you for serving the students from the bottom of your hearts and know that you have set a high precedence for the future batches.

10) What advice do you have for your juniors wanting to be a change maker in NUS?

There are a lot to work on and many things can be improved but change is gradual and every batch should aim to finish what they have started. It is very easy as Student Representatives to have big goals and foresight but realistically, one year is really very short. Goals should be kept concise, feasible and most importantly flexible. The Union is for students and Students make the Union. Constant review of all initiatives should be ongoing to ensure that we stay relevant, inclusive and forward-looking.