SMU SMOO Challenge 2021 aims to raise $400,000 for student bursaries

Join us as one community to provide financial support for students in need

Singapore, 3 August 2021 (Tuesday) – The Singapore Management University’s (SMU) annual fundraiser aims to accomplish a collective distance of 50,000km in 21 days, from 3 to 24 September 2021, and raise $400,000 for students in need. It rallies the entire community of SMU’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and family, including members of the public, to run or walk for a good cause.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SMU made the switch from a physical event to a virtual one since last year. The benefits of a virtual race include the opportunity for participants to come from any part of the world and clock their distance anytime, at their own convenience. In this COVID-19 age, we may be all apart, but we are all in it together during this “new normal”.

Run, walk or bounce to clock your distance

From 3 to 24 September, one can run, walk, bounce and even dance to clock kilometres, so long as one has a distance tracking app to track one’s mileage electronically. There are six race categories — 5km, 10km, 21km, 50km, 100km and 210km — with the distance to be completed over 21 days, from anywhere in the world.

Nett proceeds from the $21 registration fee, as well as $21 race tee merchandise will go towards the SMU Bursary Fund. If running or walking is not possible, one can still make a contribution and donate directly towards the cause. For each dollar raised, the Tote Board will match it for another dollar, doubling the impact and contributions from all.

SMOO Challenge 2021 is open to everyone. Sign up here or donate here.

Increasing visibility and outreach through SMOO Challenge Ambassadors – Race and Raise

SMU President Professor Lily Kong will be leading a diverse group of 21 SMOO Challenge Ambassadors to achieve a collective distance of 50,000km and $400,000 fund-raising target. Apart from Prof Kong, the ambassadors include faculty, staff, students, alumni and one parent clocking mileage for a good cause.

For Prof Kong, she has set the bar high. She says, “This year, as SMU marks its 21st birthday, we aim to accomplish 50,000km together in 21 days. That is like going more than once round the world and to make SMOO Challenge more fun, there are five distance milestones at each 10,000km mark for participants to hit. What makes these milestones special are pledged donations that can be “unlocked” when the distances are reached. So, the more one walks or runs, the more we can raise for our students in need. To encourage everyone, I have stepped forward to take on the President’s Milestone challenge, where I’ll be pledging to cover 200km, and raise $50,000 for the cause. Completing 200km in 21 days will be a real challenge for me – so please support me on my journey by generously contributing towards the cause. SMOO Challenge is a fun way to keep fit, maintain mental wellness, and do good at the same time. With the new normal today, we may be kept apart, but we are in it together, as One SMU.” Watch her video here.

Minister Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman, whose daughter is an SMU alumna, has also pledged to complete 210km and raise a total of $1,000 per day or $21,000. On his page, he wrote, “Our family will be challenging ourselves to running a combined distance of 10km every day, for 21 days as part of the SMOO Challenge. Opportunities in education can be life-changing, and they are crucial for all of us to pursue our aspirations and improve our lives and the lives of those around us. Our daughter, being an SMU School of Law alumna, has benefited from the opportunities that have come with learning at and graduating from SMU. We hope that many others with big dreams and ambitions can have these same opportunities, no matter their family circumstances. That is why we have chosen to embark on the SMOO Challenge, to allow us to spend time together as a family, challenging ourselves with an active task that requires positivity and commitment, towards a common goal of hopefully helping to improve opportunities in education for others, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Vice-Chairperson of the SMOO Challenge organising committee, Tan Wei Ling (Year 1, LKCSB) is herself a recipient of the SMU Bursary Fund. She says, “I first heard of SMOO Challenge through a call of recruitment and decided to research on it. When I found out that this event helps to fundraise for the SMU Bursary Fund to help out financially challenged students, I was inspired to join and be part of this event. As a recipient of the bursary, I understand the importance to those who rely on it to finance their University education. I find this cause extremely meaningful and dear to my heart, and am determined to make this event a successful one.”


Background of SMU Challenge and how SMOO Challenge came about

First initiated in 2008, SMU Challenge is an annual community service initiative by the Special Interest and Community Service Sodality (SICS) at SMU. Each year, SMU Challenge organises a series of fun-filled and experiential interaction sessions (known as Purple Outings) with our chosen beneficiary organisations before marking the end of the community service project with a finale event. Due to the pandemic last year, we were unable to hold the activities physically and thus decided to do a virtual race which replaces the finale event. Starting this year, SMU Challenge has been rebranded to SMOO Challenge to raise funds for the SMU Bursary Fund and also includes the SICS Purple Outreach Project to serve our chosen beneficiary. Since its inception, SMU Challenge has made a difference in the local community through helping others in need and have enjoyed tremendous support from students, alumni, faculty and staff over the years.

This year’s beneficiary - Mountbatten Vocational School

For the Purple Outreach, we have worked with our long-term beneficiary Mountbatten Vocational School (MVS) to organise eight online engagement sessions this year. These include mask chain masking and hydroponics plant growing activity. The focus was to spend time to understand students with disabilities and how we could help them, based on MVS’ feedback from last year’s programme. We are grateful for Central Singapore Community Development Council (CSCDC)’s Purple Outings Grant.