Campus events usual end with cleaning supervisor Madam Supiah Yusaff, 61, picking up after students.
The tables were turned on Friday evening during a student organised picnic at the National University of Singapore (NUS) to thank the university's support staff. Instead of standing on the sidelines waiting to clean up after them, Madam Supiah was treated to performances, drinks and a picnic basket filled with snacks. "Usually we are the ones who serve and end up cleaning after all is done but today has been different. It's a nice feeling to be served," she said.
Madam Supiah was one of 50 support staff who spent their Friday evening on the grassy expanse at Town Green in University Town served by 25 students from NUS' Student Union (NUSSU). The attendees included shuttle bus drivers, security guards, canteen staff and housekeeping and maintenance workers.Operations manager Abd Rahman Khan, 63, said: "Students do thank us on a day-to-day basis when we find a lost item for them for instance but putting this together specially for us is very nice way to thank us for the long hours we work every day."
The picnic was the finale event of a one-week long campaign organised by NUSSU. "Students have been very engrossed in studying and their own activities. They often take the people around them - from bus drivers to cleaners, for granted. Without them life on campus wouldn't be as smooth," said the union's president, Soh Yi Da, 24, a year-four political science student. There are about 10,000 staff in NUS which has a cohort of about 37,000 students.
Over the course of the campaign which started on October 31, NUSSU set up booths across the various faculties where students penned words of gratitude on postcards to staff.
They were also encouraged to present the postcards to them, snap a photo with their heroes and upload them to the student union's Facebook page.