Written by Chris Ong
For the National University of Singapore Psychology Society or NUSPsyche, 2006 has been a year of firsts. It had its first Freshmen Orientation Camp in July, elected its first Executive Committee during the inaugural elections in Sept., and held their first sub-committee recruitment drive from 16 to 20 Oct.
NUSPsyche caters primarily to the interests of psychology majors in the faculty of arts and social sciences. It was formed after the Society of Social Work and Psychology Students split early this year. In February, a founding committee comprising 10 students helped lay the groundwork for this new student society. They planned and discussed various issues ranging from the constitution to administrative procedures.
Cheryl Nott, president of NUSPsyche’s founding committee shared her thoughts on seeing the society grow within the last nine months. “There’s a sense of relief and joy that we’ve managed to come so far, considering it started out as just an idea,” Nott said. With the NUSPsyche membership now standing at 112, one month after it became officially recognised, indicating the success of the recent recruitment drive.
“I admit there was a sense of anticipation that we would have a decent number of members, because of all the support and effort put in by everyone who’s helped promote the society,” she said.
Nott’s successor and current president Quah Soo Li recognizes that a large membership base gives the fledgling society greater exposure. At the same time, she is aware of the challenges a large membership base brings. “A large membership base gives us the kind of exposure our society aims to achieve. It however brings along with it a whole new set of problems, some of which includes making sure that all our members are satisfied with the activities organised by our society for,” Quah said. Quah was elected president at the inaugural Annual General Meeting held on Sept. 21, along with eight other students.
NUSPsyche Vice-President Cheryl Lee attributes her involvement in NUSPsyche’s Freshmen Orientation Camp, held in July this year, as her motivation to run for office. “Prior to joining the FOC planning committee, I had no association with NUSPsyche. In the process of working with people who are part of the society, I grew to love the family-feeling and warmth of a society like this. I guess I was inspired to give back to NUSPsyche what I had gotten out of it,” Lee said.
This sentiment is not limited to the camp organizers, but the participants as well. Freshman Foo Yong Yun, who is the current Honorary General Secretary, says his camp experience was a factor in his decision to run. “NUSPsyche’s FOC provided me opportunities to better understand what NUS and Psychology had to offer. I felt it was quite a successful event, and was awed by the camaraderie and determination of the organising committee. They showed me there is much more to NUS than mugging, and I was inspired to step forward and make a difference,” Foo said.
How NUSPsyche will develop depends largely on this first committee, which will set the direction for the society. Nott has praise for her successors, whose approach and attitude towards the recruitment drive has reassured her that the society is in good hands. “At the end of the day, we’ve really got to give credit to the 1st ex-co for going into the recruitment drive with a “can-do” kinda attitude. They really put in alot of effort, thought and planning, to reach out to as many people as possible. With this kind of mentality, they can bring NUSPsyche far,” she said.