Celebrating the Impact of Giving
Celebrating the Impact of Giving
The first ever Foundation Week was conceived as an inclusive event for our community to highlight and celebrate the wide range of ways that giving through the UWCSEA Foundation positively impacts the College. From interactive sessions to immersive experiences, students, parents and staff had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how giving strengthens the UWC mission and supports the strategic aims of UWCSEA.
Open to all members of the community, 28 different events and activities were scheduled in the weeklong showcase, including
- dinners with the scholar community on each campus
- film nights featuring mission-aligned documentaries (Plastic Ocean on East, The White Helmets on Dover
- sustainability tours of each campus hosted by staff and Foundation Parent Ambassadors
- exhibitions in the tent plaza
- scholar stories shared at student assemblies, staff meetings and parent events
- inaugural Impact of Giving fundraising gala
Bettina Haupter, Foundation Parent Ambassador, said, "The week was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of giving and provide unique opportunities for parents, students, alumni and staff to understand more about how gifts are enriching the UWCSEA experience. From seeing the student installed solar panels on the roof, to hearing scholars speak about their scholarship experience and learning how endangered tree species are being rescued from extinction, it was an eye-opening experience for all that took part. You really got to see how gifts are making a difference across the College."
All activities and events featured in Foundation Week 2017 were directly linked to the College's four core fundraising programmes: scholarships, sustainable development, teaching and learning, and the UWCSEA Endowment.
Dinner with scholars
6 and 8 November
With over 57 countries represented by our scholars, the dinners were an opportunity for our day community to connect with scholars in our boarding community over a shared meal. Families brought home-cooked dishes representative of their own country to supplement the Sodexo buffet in dining rooms decorated by Foundation Parent Ambassadors with representative flags, candles and table settings. Victoria Great, whose daughter is in Grade 5 at Dover Campus, said, “perhaps the most impactful event for me was the ‘Dinner with Scholars’ where we were able to meet some of the scholars... I sat on a table with scholars from Senegal, Burkino Faso, Namibia and Cambodia. They are articulate, mature and shared fascinating insights about their background and experiences.”
6 and 9 November
These tours led by Foundation Parent Ambassadors and staff around each campus, highlighted the sustainability features that turn our campuses into educational spaces. From tree nurseries to solar panels, to sneak peeks at rooftop gardens and the air conditioning plant, participants were able to get a better understanding of the green features of the campus.
A parent participant commented, “It’s not until you’ve been on one of these tours that you realise exactly how much has been done to enhance and improve not just environmental sustainability of the campuses but also the learning opportunities they provide. For example, I did not realise the extent of the edible gardens, or the fact that the astroturf pitch on East Campus is a rainwater catchment.’’
An important part of the programme was providing opportunities for scholars to share their stories. Nearly 3,000 members of our community, predominantly students from K1 to Grade 12 and staff had the opportunity to hear from scholars how their UWCSEA scholarship had impacted their lives. Scholars also shared their stories with parents at the scholar dinners, a coffee morning and the Impact of Giving Gala.
The contribution of the scholarship programme to the furthering of the mission is clear, as described by Sakana, a Grade 12 scholar from Cambodia: "A big part of having a UWC experience is living in a diverse community. Diversity brings a great variety of foods, amazing music, beautiful dances and a lot of dinner celebrations: from Christmas to Hari Raya to Diwali. On top of that, diversity allows expression of individuality through thoughts and actions. Every single scholars that I talk to tells me a unique story. Story about their life experiences, their family backgrounds, their country's’ culture, history and especially their experiences here in this school. For example, Julia, a scholar from Germany is working on an Initiative for Peace conference in Cambodia aiming to reconcile youth in conflict. Then there is Mafe who will be spending her gap year designing an affordable baby carrier for indigenous parents in Mexico. And Nanakwame, a Ghanan scholar who built a web application for the event Write for Rights organised by the GC Voices for Refugees. And Hristina who wants to shows peace and harmony between the two countries: Turkey and Albania through dance in our upcoming Culturama.”
7 and 9 November
The community was invited to come together with friends and family to watch documentary films closely linked with the UWC mission. Plastic Ocean, screened on East Campus, was prefaced by Claire Psillides, Chair of Service and students Ruby and Freddie, who explained how environmental initiatives in the East Campus Service programme are designed to minimise our impact on the environment. On Dover Campus, The White Helmets documentary was linked to the UWC Refugee Initiative with an introduction by Susan Edwards, Head of Global Concerns for student Hella who acted who acted as MC. Hella helped to field questions from the audience for Joy Haugen, GC Service Officer on East Campus, who talked about her experiences as a South Sudanese refugee.
Tent plaza exhibitions
Interactive display 6 and 8 November
These displays showcased the impact giving has had on scholarships, teaching and learning and sustainable development. Tables were hosted by students and staff who shared information on Foundation-supported projects such as Solar for Dover, Adopt-a-Tree, the Rainforest Restoration Project and the IDEAS Hub.
Impact of Giving Gala
Topping off the week was the inaugural Impact of Giving Gala, a fundraiser organised by two co-chair parents and committed team of 23 parent volunteers. Attended by 350 guests and held at the iconic Marina Bay Sands, the gala was a community-led event. Dover Campus alumni Sonam Kapoor ‘03, Anita Kapoor ‘89 and Sean Ghazi ’87 volunteered their time to help to host the event and provide entertainment; Head of College Chris Edwards composed and performed a song; and three student DJs kept guests on the dancefloor. S$366,000 was raised in support of UWCSEA on the night.
With over 800 community members registering to be part of the scholar dinners, sustainability tours, film nights and the Impact of Giving Gala, nearly 3,000 students and staff hearing scholar stories at assemblies and staff meetings, and countless others pausing to explore the information displays in the plazas, the week was a huge success for raising awareness across the whole community of the opportunities and impact that giving creates.
Dave Shepherd, Director of Advancement explained, "Since 2008, the College has received over S$23 million in gifts. This support has had an enormous impact on UWCSEA and this week was an opportunity to showcase the vital role our community has played in supporting the continued development of UWCSEA. Thank you to not only those that took part but to all those that helped make the week the success it was."