SMU Patron’s Day 2024: An UPSIZED! Birthday Bash

SMU marked its 24th anniversary with its biggest SMU Makers’ Market, doubled-up sustainability efforts and amplified entertainment as it welcomed its new Patron on SMU Patron’s Day 2024.

A rousing Presidential welcome

On 2 February, the SMU community was honoured to welcome the University’s new Patron, President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, together with his spouse, Ms Jane Ittogi, to SMU Patron’s Day 2024 (PD24).

They were accompanied by SMU Chancellor Mr Lim Chee Onn, SMU Chairman Mr Piyush Gupta and Mrs Gupta, SMU President Professor Lily Kong, Dean of Students Professor Paulin Straughan, as well as representatives from SMU Students’ Association (SMUSA), SMU Ambassadorial Corps and PD24 student organisers.

The guests were introduced to PD24’s sustainability efforts and toured the SMU Makers’ Market, where Mr President and Mrs Tharman chatted with several Makers. At Husks Green, Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB) student, Sean Phang Yu Sheng, introduced his family’s sustainability business to Mr President and Mrs Tharman.

Sean said, “This was an incredibly rewarding experience for me, and meeting President Tharman was an honour and event highlight! It was so inspiring to introduce Husks Green to him and his encouragement reaffirmed our belief in the importance of our work in the sustainability business!”

Guests also toured the SMU Connexion and viewed a specially curated PD24 exhibition, Making Meaningful Impact on People and Communities, where presenters highlighted the University’s impact in the areas of Education, Research and its role as an Engaged City University. Thereafter, guests attended a celebratory Gala Dinner, which included close to 150 invited alumni. Amongst them were pioneering alumni from the Class of 2004 and alumni from the Class of 2014, who celebrated the 20th and 10th anniversaries of their graduation respectively.

When 2 meets 4, the fun becomes more

Preparations for PD24 began in May 2023, as organisers from SMU’s Office of Student Life (OSL) and students conceptualised the event together. Seah Wee Thye, PD24’s Creative Director and Head of OSL’s Arts and Creative Experience teams said, “Students are the essence of SMU and we felt that they should decide how they want to celebrate their institution’s birthday.” Staff and 27 student organisers decided on the theme UPSIZED! with the tagline, ‘When 2 meets 4, the fun becomes more’ and implemented this concept into the celebrations in fun yet meaningful ways.

LKCSB student and PD24 Operations Director Rayson Tan, who hosted Mr President during his tour of the festivities, said: “I really treasured the opportunity to host President Tharman on campus. I am honoured to have worked with my peers to put together this significant event!”

SMUSA President and LKCSB student, Kelly Goh, who set up a Makers’ booth selling scrunchies, said, “Hosting President Tharman and Mrs Tharman as the 24th SMUSA President, and manning a booth for my small business made PD24 especially memorable and enriching for me!”

A dynamic showcase of creative makers, sustainability efforts and amplified entertainment
PD24 featured an upsized SMU Makers’ Market, with 33 makers (up from 20-22 makers in previous years) comprising undergraduate and post-graduate students, alumni and staff who sold handmade items or offered artistic services in handicraft, accessories, food, lifestyle, sustainability and technology. There was also a sumptuous F&B section, and the event’s partner and sponsor booths offered an array of fun games and activities.

As part of the University’s enhanced environmental, economic and social sustainability efforts, Go Green With SMOO encouraged participants to bring pre-loved clothes or bags to be embroidered with exclusive PD24 logos. This reduced textile waste and costs that producing new event T-shirts would have incurred.

Another sustainability initiative, SMUltiply, encouraged the SMU community to pay-it-forward as OneSMU. Donations were raised and gifted as PD24 vouchers to extended members of the SMU community – technicians, cleaners, gardeners and security staff. The drive raised $1200 and benefited 170 SMU service staff.

A mega party on the Green

PD24’s carnival atmosphere was amplified by a two-hour programme that comprised three main segments on Campus Green. SMU Samba Masala interacted with LED screens in Mega Beats while SMUBE emcees followed with talk sets and SMU Stageit organised exciting stage games. Next, SMU SoundFoundry and SMU VOIX serenaded the packed audience with a beautiful music and song collaboration in Amped Up.

There were also headliner performances by popular local singer-songwriters Keyana and Benjamin Kheng. The finale segment, Supercharged, featured a 50-minute turntable set by SOE student and SMU Stereometa deejay Carlo Tendi, with explosive dance breaks by SMU Eurhythmix, SMU Funk Movement and SMU INDANCITY.

LKCSB student Terence Wong was partying on the Green with his friends. He won two prizes – a pair of earbuds and a tablet – at the SMU Makers’ Market Spin lucky draw. “PD had so many entertaining activities – not to mention prizes! It was absolutely a good break before mid-terms and I enjoyed supporting my friends who performed,” he said.

Spotted in the crowd was alumnus Naresh S/O Vijayakumaran, from the Class of 2011 School of Information Systems. He was also the former President of SMU Arts and Culture Fraternity and a staff member of OSL. As he enjoyed the festivities with his family in tow, Naresh said, “It is such a warm feeling coming back to SMU, this time as a parent, with my wife and 15-month-old son, to celebrate PD with friends and former colleagues!”

For participants, being part of PD24, one of SMU’s most prolific event platforms, was both a thrilling and enriching experience. LKCSB student Alvin Koh upsized his PD24 participation as the event’s Partnerships Director and member of SMU Funk Movement. Summing up his experience, he said, “I learnt to step up my time management skills to make sure I gave my best for PD24. The end game was absolutely fulfilling, and seeing everyone with mega smiles was just – super lit!”