Extraordinary General Meeting 2017

On 9th October 2017, Earthlink held its annual Extraordinary General Meeting to elect a new group of leaders to its ranks. The different portfolios available are as follows: Honorary General Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, Camp & Welfare, Campaign Management, Events Executive Overseas, Logistics, Publications, Publicity, Recycling, and Webmaster. It is crucial that attendees to this event paid close attention to what each candidate represents as well as their future plans within the role, as this batch of leaders will determine and shape Earthlink’s path ahead for the academic year 2017/2018.

After registration, the event began with the opening ceremony, where the president gave a welcome speech to the attendees. It was then followed by an explanation of the voting rules. Each candidate had 3 minutes for their speech, in which they had to describe their background, past experience (if any), and goals if they were to be elected. A question and answer session followed after each candidate was done with their speech.

Running for the portfolio of Honorary General Secretary was Lin Yan Ni (Kolyn). She was previously the Camp Director in Earthlink for AY 16/17 and Acting Honorary General Secretary for AY 17/18. If elected, she would ensure that minutes for various meetings will be taken down accurately, such that clear information can then be passed down to the various portfolio directors. She would also ensure that Earthlink’s vast archives are properly kept for future references as well as ensuring that PDPA policies are strictly complied to.

Running for the portfolio of Honorary Treasurer was Ariel Foo Fang Chin. She was previously the deputy Camp Director in Earthlink for AY 16/17 and Acting Honorary Treasurer for AY 17/18. She also has a Diploma in Accountancy from Singapore Polytechnic. If elected, she would strive to ensure effective monitoring and reporting of funds and would guide the Main Committee in adhering to financial Standard Operating Procedures.

Running for the portfolio of Camp & Welfare Director was Tan Yun Ann. He was previously the Camp and Welfare program coordinator for AY 15/16, Camp Secretary for AY 16/17, and the Internal Affairs and Performance director for the 7th Council of International Council of Malaysian Scholars and Associates (SG). If elected, he plans to have more workshops and sharing sessions, as well as more events like Earthlink Environmental Camp, Earthlink Night, and Earthlink Bonding Day.

Running for the portfolio of Campaign Management Director was Antonio Tjeng Chao Wei. He was previous NTU Earthlink’s Campaign Management Liaison Officer as well as the President for the Fudan International School Environmental Club. He has several campaign ideas which he would strive to implement if elected. They include “Ditch Da Disposables” and “Green Monday”. He also wants to tackle the issue of food waste in NTU.

Running for the portfolio of Events Executive (Overseas) Director is Quah Wee Keong Benson. He was previously the Business Manager of SCBE Convocation Club as was a participant in a SCBE OCIP. If elected, he plans to have recruitment drives and canvassing events in both semesters 1 and 2, meeting and bonding activities, a trip during the summer break of AY 17/18, as well as a local CIP activity in semester 2.

Running for the portfolio of Logistics is Tan Zi Qi. She was previously a welfare sub-committee member in the CEE club, as participated as well as facilitated in events organised by the CEE club. If elected, she would strive to maintain the various Earthlink logistical items as well as ensure that effective logistical support is provided for various events.

Running for the portfolio of Publications is Letitia Koh Rui Xin. She was previously a sub-committee member in Earthlink’s Publications portfolio in AY 16/17, and was a sub-committee member in the Welfare Services Club’s Publications and Publicity Portfolio in AY 15/16. If elected, she would ensure that timely information is provided about Earthlink events on Earthlink’s Facebook page, and that every event has at least 1 writer and 2 photographers. Her goal would be to communicate the aims and efforts of Earthlink NTU to the NTU community and the public at large in order to inspire them to engage in environmentally friendly behaviours.

Running for the portfolio of Publicity is Tan Ying Shi. She was previously the Deputy Director of Earthlink’s Publicity portfolio in AY 16/17. If elected, she aims to reduced NTU Earthlink’s carbon footprint by slowly moving Earthlink towards a more digital future.

Running for the portfolio of Recycling is Jonathan Seow Jun Nyap. He was previously President of the Welfare and Charity Keen Youth in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. He was also the Organising Chairperson of the Illuminate Science Fair 2016. If elected, he aims to revamp the initiative of waste reduction by demonstrating the benefits of effective waste reduction.

Running for the portfolio of Webmaster is Goh Jia Jing Jeslyn. As a student in the School of Computer Science and Engineering, she has experience in multiple computer languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python. If elected, she would improve the interface of Earthlink’s website and maintain it. She would also work on a phone application that aims to help reduce food waste in NTU.

All candidates were unanimously voted to the positions they were running for. The newly elected directors for Earthlink’s 25th Management officially inherit the responsibilities of managing the club for the academic year 2017/2018, marking the start of a brand new chapter of our Earthlink journey.

With that, we are pleased to present our 25th Management Committee:
Honorary General Secretary: Lin Yan Ni, Kolyn
Honorary Treasurer: Ariel Foo Fang Chin
Camp & Welfare Director: Tan Yun Ann (earthlink-cnw@e.ntu.edu.sg)
Campaign Management Director: Antonio Tjeng Chao Wei (earthlink-cmo@e.ntu.edu.sg)
Events Executive (Overseas) Director: Quah Wee Keong Benson (earthlink-envexp@e.ntu.edu.sg)
Logistics Director: Tan Zi Qi (earthlink-logistics@e.ntu.edu.sg)
Publications Director: Letitia Koh Rui Xin (earthlink-publication@e.ntu.edu.sg)
Publicity Director: Tan Ying Shi (earthlink-publicity@e.ntu.edu.sg)
Recycling Director: Jonathan Seow Jun Nyap (earthlink-recycling@e.ntu.edu.sg)
Webmaster: Goh Jia Jing, Jeslyn (earthlink-webmaster@e.ntu.edu.sg)

Once again, congratulations to the newly elected Committee! If you are keen to join the portfolios, please feel free to contact the respective Directors at their emails (beside their names above)! 🙂

Mangrove Mystery Nature Trail

Do you know why researchers observe dragonflies when studying wetland ecosystems?
Also, do you know how to differentiate between cranes and herons?

The above are just a few examples of what participants of NTU Earthlink’s first public nature walk – Mangrove Mystery Nature Trail, learnt during the event. The event was held at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park, on the morning of 7th October 2017.

Sungei Buloh first opened in 1993 as a Nature Park. The area was later upgraded to a Nature Reserve and took on its current name in 2002. In 2003, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve became Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park. The area is now home to 202 hectares of mangroves, mudflats, ponds, and forest, within which countless species of flora and fauna reside with minimal human intervention.

Participants were excited about learning more about the rich biodiversity present in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, as well as observing the various species of flora and fauna in their natural habitat. Everyone was also prepared to brave the early morning sun and unrelenting mosquitoes in order to have a chance to observe and be part of nature at its finest.

After a safety briefing by the event organisers and group photo, participants were split into 4 groups to ensure a better experience when exploring. The guides gave a brief history of the area before setting off on the walk proper. Along the walk, the more knowledgeable participants regularly shared their insights and past experiences with the others, allowing those with less experience to learn more.

The two main areas explored by participants were the bird hides as well as the mangrove boardwalk. Several species of migratory birds were present during our visit, and participants managed to observe them clearly with the help of binoculars. During the mangrove boardwalk section, participants observed the mangrove at high tide.

Let us now review the questions at the very beginning:
“Do you know why researchers observe dragonflies when studying wetland ecosystems?” –
Dragonflies are ideal indicators of wetland health as their larvae develop in water and because they are located relatively low in the food chain. Therefore their presence and health can reveal changes in water ecosystems more quickly than if researchers were to study other organisms.
“Also, do you know how to differentiate between cranes and herons?” –
An easy way to differentiate between cranes and herons is to observe them while they are in flight. Herons curve their necks into a “S” shape and rest it on their bodies while they are flying. Cranes however fly with their necks outstretched.

Let us now take a closer look at mangroves, and why they are so important. Mangroves are useful to both humans and nature in many ways. Firstly, they serve as a form of shoreline protection by acting as a natural barrier to incoming winds and waves, thereby decreasing the intensity at which they hit the shoreline. Mangroves are also able to, as part of the carbon storage mechanism in plants, store up to five times more carbon than an equal area of rainforest. Furthermore, mangrove forests are home to hundreds of species of plants and animals. The roots can serve shelter for many underwater animals, while the forest itself is a food source for other animals. Therefore, in order to protect such a valuable asset, we should contribute to the protection and conservation of mangroves worldwide, starting with our own mangroves right here at home.

If you have unfortunately missed this event, fret not! You can keep a lookout for future nature trails organised by Earthlink 🙂

Student Leaders’ Night 2017

The annual Student Leaders’ Night took place on Tuesday, 26 September 2017, where student leaders from more than 100 clubs in NTU congregated at the LKC Lecture Theatre to bid farewell to the outgoing management committees, and at same time welcome the new batch of leaders. Notably, the Mr. and Mrs. Kwok Chin Yan Award for Student Initiatives was conferred on student leaders who had organised initiatives with significant contributions towards the enhancement of student life, the improvement of the campus environment or the betterment of the larger community.

The Student Leaders’ Night was a collaboration between Earthlink NTU and NTU Student Affairs Office (SAO) to promote the “Ditch Da Disposables” (DDD) initiative. Started in 2014, the DDD is an Earthlink NTU initiative that aims to reduce waste by curbing the usage of disposables. In merely two years, the DDD initiative has successfully reduced more than 2000 sets of disposables during Earthlink events. The overwhelming success of the DDD initiative inspired EarthLink NTU to promote DDD to other clubs in NTU.

During the event’s networking session, student ambassadors from Earthlink NTU fervently approached the participants to advocate the practice of using reusable containers and cutlery for their club events. The student ambassadors also shared about the detrimental impact of disposables on the environment as well as health. To broaden the impact of the DDD initiative, participants were invited to join the DDD Alliance, playing a part in actualising DDD in their clubs.

As part of the DDD initiative, disposable plates and cutlery were not provided for the event. Instead, participants were informed beforehand to bring their own reusable containers and cutlery. To support this mission, Earthlink NTU sold reusable containers and cutlery to cater for participants who forgot to bring theirs. Certainly, it was heartening to see that most of the participants brought their own containers and cutlery. EarthLink NTU hopes that the student leaders continue the legacy of the DDD initiative by implementing it in their respective clubs to create a greener NTU.

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS)

The International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) was held at Coney Island on 23 September 2017, with the aim of educating the NTU community on marine trash pollution with data collected from the coastal cleanup, and the ultimate goal of reducing the pollution in our waterways. 54 participants covered a 200-metre stretch of Coney Island’s shorelines to collect the trash. Despite an unexpected downpour during the event, our participants braved the rain and managed to collect 106kg of trash. Participants also extended their care to fellow members by sharing their umbrellas or passing their umbrellas on to other members even if it meant that they would be drenched by the rain. If you have unfortunately missed the ICCS, fret not! There are many other ways to protect the environment, such as avoiding the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and stores and minimising food takeaways. You can also keep a lookout for future Earthlink events and join like-minded peers in protecting our environment!

Earthlink Welcome Tea 2017

Our Welcome Tea event was held on 22nd August 2017. The 4-hour event aimed to promote the importance of sustainable living as well as to attract more students to join Earthlink and various environmental conservation efforts. The event also allowed current Earthlink members to interact with prospective Earthlinkers. The president of the 24th management committee started things off with a warm welcome speech. Attendees then watched a video detailing past events, which was followed by the various portfolio directors introducing themselves. Attendees were highly interested in what Earthlink represents as well as our past events and looked forward to being part of Earthlink’s future activities. If you missed the Welcome Tea event, do keep a look out for events initiated or promoted by Earthlink on our Facebook page and feel free to join! We sincerely hope that you join us in playing our part in saving the environment! 🙂

Earthlink Environmental Camp 2017

During 26 to 27 August, Earthlink held its annual camp – EE Camp 2017, with the aim of attracting freshmen to join Earthlink whilst providing a platform to learn about the importance of environmental conservation.
One of the camp highlights was the visit to Gardens by the Bay. Participants were exposed to species of flora rarely seen in Singapore due to unfavourable weather conditions. They also learnt about environmental sustainability via architecture through observing the various structures in the Garden.
Another highlight was the trip to Pulau Ubin. By being able to be up close and personal with nature herself, participants had an experience that they would never undergone back on the mainland. It was truly an eye-opening experience for the participants as life on Pulau Ubin is completely different than that on the mainland.
Overall, participants were able to bond with each other during this event as well as learn more about a side of nature that they would not normally experience in their everyday lives. If you unfortunately missed this year’s EE Camp, be sure to join us next year! We guarantee an enriching and fun 2 days of exploring various aspects of the environment as well as interacting with fellow camp participants who share the same love for the environment as you do! 🙂

 

 

 

Waste Trail Journey III : Pulau Semakau

In the summer break last month, Earthlinkers and NTU students were fortunate to be given the opportunity to visit Semakau Landfill. The visit was a collaboration between Earthlink NTU and V360E Initiative by Student Community Engagement Office, and was also the final destination of the 3-part Waste Trail Journey. Participants learnt about the various scientific research on the island, the rich biodiversity on the island, as well as the waste management processes in Singapore before landfilling. Through a guided tour around the island, participants had a clearer idea of how the landfill was divided into different segments. Participants saw where the ashes were disposed in the sea as part of the Phase II development of the landfill. As Semakau landfill is estimated to be filled by 2045, the problem of excessive waste generation and land scarcity was highlighted to participants.

We hope that the visit to Semakau Landfill was enlightening for all participants, and stay tuned to the upcoming visit next year!

Ecoventure 2017

Ecoventure is Earthlink’s very own annual youth overseas community involvement program. First initiated in 2004, Ecoventure started as an eco-trip to locations where students are able to experience the environment in a novel way. At that time, Ecoventure intended to expose participants to prevalent environmental issues and to allow them to appreciate the importance of conserving the environment through learning and sharing. Over the years, Ecoventure took a slight change to incorporate other elements into the trip, which included Community Service, and Information and Cultural Exchange.

As a proud recipient of the Nanyang Award for Humanitarian Work for its effort in 2016, the Ecoventure team continued its environmental works in 2017. The team, consisting of 24 students, travelled to Tra Vinh, Vietnam to install water filtration system at a school in the rural region. Other than installing the filtration system that would allow the children to have clean water to drink, the Ecoventure team also provided basic English lessons to the children.

 

Arrived and Eager to help

The group was divided into two main team: education and construction. The education team had initially prepared many topics to teach the children. However, upon interacting with them on the first day, the team knew that their English proficiency level was low. The lessons were then changed to teaching them basic greetings, counting, occupations, numbers etc. in English.

Despite the language barrier, the great enthusiasm of the children had encouraged the education team to come up with a better lesson plan to engage them further. Every night, the education team would gather to review on the difficulties the students were facing such as the speed on which the teachers were speaking and the suitability of the teaching materials. Lessons were taught through games, dance and songs to make it easier for the children to understand.

The construction team had different challenges from the education team. A skillful construction artisan led the construction team for the installation of the filtration system. Most of the time, the artisan would instruct through actions on what should be done as he did not speak a word of English. Generally, the team would clearly understand what he wanted us to do. The team had to clear away the grass, hack the wall and make cement plaster for the basin. The team also hand painted the wall around the basin. The other challenges during construction was the fickle weather where it changed from hot and dry to heavy rain within hours.

 

Muddy Times!

During the weekend when the school was closed, the team helped the community in other ways. We went to visit six different households that require assistance from the community. All the visited households are poor and cannot afford education for their children. The interaction between the families and the team is enriching and enlightening as it shows how fortunate we are to have so many things that they do not have. We also went to visit a nearby library where everyone helped in weeding and maintaining the library garden.

The team also went to experience catching Snakehead fish in a muddy pool with their bare hands. The frustration we had trying to grab the slippery and sneaky Snakeheads is unforgettable. Lots of screams, shrieks and laughter were heard throughout the fishing event. Twelve fishes were caught in total, it was an incredible feat. The participants brought the fishes back and had a relaxing barbeque together.

 

 

Dance of Diversity in Culture Night

Other activities included a library event and the culture night. The library event was akin to games day where children would gather at the community library and played games. There were six game stations manned by the team. The children went back home happily with their game prizes.

For the cultural night, we came up with four songs (in Malay, Indian, Mandarin and English) and dances to showcase the multi-racial culture of Singapore. The Vietnamese locals performed their own song and dance too! Everyone danced and enjoyed the night together with laughter and joy around the campfire and under the starry night sky, celebrating our unity in diversity.

Another effort we did to help the community was planting a garden in the school. Everyone came together to clear all the rubbish that was littered in their school compound. After the compound was cleared of rubbish and litters, construction team proceeded to plant flowers. Education team then taught the children about environmental cleanliness and proper ways to use their newly installed water system.

 

Afterthought

In the 14 days spent together, the team had completed the installation of filtration system, painted a wall mural, built a garden and provided useful lessons to the children. The team also built a closer bond and friendship among themselves and with the locals. Ecoventure’s aim is not only to help the less fortunate, but also to instill an empathetic feeling towards people who were impoverished and lacked many basic facilities to the participants. The household visits were certainly impactful to students like us. By understanding the living conditions and their difficult situations each of them had, we hope to provide more OCIP ideas in the future to help the needy and continue the spirit of helping people.

 

Earthlink Jalan-Jalan 2017

Summer break is here! After fighting through the exam period, it is finally time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a nature walk with like-minded companions.

Last Saturday, Earthlinkers went for a little nature escape to Chestnut Nature Park, the newest and largest nature park currently in Singapore! Apart from the hiking trails, there are also biking trails for mountain bikers! As immersive as the park is with all its biodiversity, tall HDB buildings can still be seen in the distance in some areas. We are reminded that the park is only an enclosed space in the middle a bustling urban area. The scarcity of areas in which we can enjoy nature to our hearts’ content becomes more of a reason for us to treat them right. Let us preserve them for the future generation!

 

Earth Hour 2017

Bright and early on the March 25, many gathered at the Jurong Spring Community Club for the Earth Hour Symposium as well as the night carnival (supported by National Youth Council), which followed after. From 9:45am to 3pm, there were talks by various speakers, all passionate individuals who believe in playing their part to help the environment and living sustainably.

Our first speaker was Ms. Lastrina, who shared with us her enriching experience and takeaways from attending the UN Climate Change Conference. Inspiring individuals, youths in particular to contribute in greening Singapore one step at a time. Following which, Ms. Karen Lee, from Interface Singapore Pte. Ltd., a social enterprise that embodies sustainability in business opened our eyes to the possibility of profit driven companies coexisting with nature. Next, we had Mr. Emmanuel Tay from Sembcorp Tay Paper Recycling Pte. Ltd. who implored youths to use technology to aid waste and recycling efforts.

In between the talks, there was a scrumptious halal-vegetarian lunch, where participants of the event were encouraged to adapt #ditchdadisposables. There were no disposable cutlery or plates and instead, participants used reusable containers to get their food.

The talk continued with more speakers, including Mr. Tiew Chew Meng PBM from South West CDC, Ms. Esther An from City Developments Ltd., Dr Shawn Lum (President of Nature Society Singapore) and the Guest of Honor, Mr Desmond Lee (Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development). Various perspectives were given throughout this session on how everyone can do their part in preserving the world’s sustainability, as explained by Mr. Tiew from the community organizations and groups’ side as well as Ms. An from the corporates’ point of view. Questions from the audience, also spurred discussion among the speakers. At the end of the session, Mr Lee thanked everyone who attended the symposium and proceeded to visit the event booths.

From 1pm onwards, there were other exhibitions and workshops for interested participants to join, such as natural soap making, plant propagation and upcycle workshop. At the event area, the public could freely enjoy terrarium making and plank art workshop at zero cost! All the workshops were fun and interesting, and each had a meaningful message behind it. The plank art workshop for example, invited the participants to paint on a plank, drawings that were related to the Earth. Taking the time to paint allowed the participants to really think about what they are painting and how they can make Earth a better place to live. Children and elderlies alike paint their hearts out; we ran out of blank planks before the sky even got dark!

Other than the workshops, there were also booths from various organizations such as World Wildlife Fund Singapore (WWF), National Environmental Agency (NEA) and the National Parks Board (Nparks). These booths are part of the night carnival which began at 3pm. Participants could walk around the various booths, learning more about what the organizations do for the environment as well as how to live their lives more sustainably and at the same time enjoy some simple games to earn stamps in exchange for a goodie bag.

During the night event, various performances are presented by student groups from NTU. All the youthful dances lit up the event and set up just the right atmosphere for the highlight of the event, the Lights Out!

At 8:30pm, the lights in the stage area and around it were all switched off as Earth Hour approached. Serving as the light in the dark, Project Eartha made its debut in the middle of the audience area. Project Eartha is a globe figure assembled by the united hearts and minds of the Earthlink Earth Hour team and Jurong Spring CC YEC members by using disposable bottles and is lit up using dynamo energy generated from a bicycle! Project Eartha’s objective is none other than to serve as a proof that sincere collective efforts could conjure a little spark in the midst of darkness and make a difference.
With only the little light from the stage floor, we enjoyed more dances and singing performances! The most amazing moment of the night is when the audience (including the distinguished guests) all stood up, put their hands in the air, and sang along two songs from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Heal the World and We Are the World. Our voices echoed throughout the area to affirm our determination to make the world a better place together!

After half an hour (instead of a full hour for safety purposes), the lights were turned back on. The final section of the event which the audience has been waiting for eagerly, the lucky draw, was then started! The top 3 winners were decided by a game of trivia facts about Earth Hour, like when Earth Hour was first celebrated in Singapore (2009).

With that, Earth Hour 2017 ends. By organizing this event, Earthlink NTU hopes to instill the fire of environmentalism within the hearts of all participants. A change, as small as it may be, will grow up to be a big wave which will bring about more people joining the cause. If we don’t start treating the world better, there may not be any chance left in the future.

“Heal the world, make it a better place. For you, and for me, and the entire human race.”