Forum: Businesses can engage youth by being part of student life

A bus stopping in front of the central library at the National University of Singapore on Nov 9, 2012.
A bus stopping in front of the central library at the National University of Singapore on Nov 9, 2012.PHOTO: ST FILE

Forum writer Tham Wen Long has suggested making public bus rides at the National University of Singapore free for students with valid concession cards, as a way to address the inadequacy of the internal shuttle bus services (Make public transport bus rides within NUS campus free, Oct 24).

But transport companies may not be willing to "give away" rides as it may affect their cash flow.

Still, businesses should consider such a show of generosity as a long-term investment. The students may not have much money now, but they will likely end up as professionals with spending power and they are likely to remember the brands that took care of them in their youth.

Giving discounts and freebies is one way for businesses to win over future customers.

Another is to create and sponsor memorable events.

In the United Kingdom, there is the annual BNY Mellon Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge. In Singapore, the Tata Crucible brings together students from institutes of higher learning to compete in a quiz with the chance to win cash prizes. These are events that become institutionalised as part of "student life."

We are a society that believes in investing in its people, and education is considered a valuable investment.

The students may not have much money now, but they will likely end up as professionals with spending power and they are likely to remember the brands that took care of them in their youth.

In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis on our education becoming more holistic as we seek to develop not only the academic talents of our youth but also their overall well-being in preparation for the working world.

Students are potential workers and consumers. Businesses can benefit when they find a way of becoming part of our youth.

Tang Li

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2019, with the headline 'Businesses can engage youth by being part of student life'. Print Edition | Subscribe