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Building a culture of service on East Campus

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Anthony Skillicorn
Former Head of Service, UWCSEA East
Courtney Carlson
Senior Communications Manager

Courtney joined UWCSEA in 2012 and served as Communications and Marketing Manager on East Campus until 2018, when she moved into the cross-campus role of Senior Communications Manager. A communications, marketing, and programme management professional with extensive experience in non-profit and education management, Courtney has always been drawn to mission-driven organisations and the College is no exception. She enjoys writing, sharing and amplifying stories about the amazing work of the UWCSEA community and the UWC movement to educate for peace and a sustainable future.

Building a culture of service on East Campus

Service is at the heart of the UWC mission

We often say that service is at the heart of our mission—and indeed it is. The commitment to service at UWCSEA has developed and deepened over nearly 40 years as part of the UWC movement and is a distinctive part of our school’s culture. But how does a culture formed over decades come to be part of a new campus and school?

When the College decided to open the East Campus in 2008, there was no doubt that service would be an integral part of the learning programme. Thanks to dedicated staff members, and through the support and participation of students and parents, a strong culture of service has emerged on East Campus over five short years.

In the first years with only a Primary School in Ang Mo Kio, the East Campus team implemented the three components of the Service programme—College, local and global service. Some of those first students are now in Grade 9 and as the Middle and High Schools have grown, so has the Service programme.

In June, the first Project Week for East Campus took place with the first IB Diploma cohort. As Project Week continues to develop on East Campus, opportunities to connect with more GC partners are being explored for the service component of the trips.

From East Campus’ inception, parents and students in the Primary School and more recently in the Middle School have had opportunities to go on service trips together to work with GC partners and visit and learn about the local culture. Beginning with Bali Bridges, an array of trips are now offered to Indonesia, Cambodia and beyond.

As parents have experienced these trips with their children, the commitment to service has grown. The Parents’ Association East offers a weekly service activity at Willing Hearts providing meals to people in need. They have also held family service activities and organised participation in community events such as the Pink Ribbon Walk.

Within the Service programme for students this year, Season 1 began with two sessions of reflection and preparation before groups began their service activities. Students took time to get to know one another and their reasons for signing up for a particular service, to learn more about the project or organisation they would be supporting and to set goals for their service individually and as a group. These goals are being revisited periodically so that students and advisors can measure change over time and make adjustments as needed.

Claire Psillides, Middle School service coordinator, has observed a greater level of comfort and understanding when students began their service this year which she attributes to the time spent on awareness building and goal setting at the beginning of the term.

This continued dedication from students, staff and parents will build on the rich culture of service on East Campus.

East Project Week 2013

The first East Campus Project Week took place in June 2013. The Grade 11 students were responsible for planning, organising and conducting the trips themselves. They learned budgeting skills, completed risk assessments and learned about booking travel arrangements and accommodation in preparation for their trips to 11 countries across the region.

Project Week helps students meet their CAS (Creativity Action Service) requirement for the IB Diploma.

Students participated in service activities with NGOs such as Christina Noble, Hand in Hand, Island Foundation, Stairways and Bali Bridges.

Action-based activities included trekking, snorkelling, tree planting, soccer coaching, cycling and climbing Mt Kinabalu, while creative activities included cooking courses, craft and origami, sign language workshops and Indian dancing.


11 Dec 2013
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