SOA Engage—Coming Together as a Family to Serve the Community

By SMU School of Accountancy Social Media Student Team

Established less than two years ago, the SMU SoA Alumni Chapter aims to bring back alumni from various cohorts to participate in SMU’s School of Accountancy (SOA) events and initiatives. Thus was the genesis of SOA Engage.

In September 2018, the SoA Alumni Chapter and SOA Outreach student body came together to unite the SOA family on a beautiful Saturday morning for a meaningful activity—the SOA Engage. This day saw alumni, students, faculty and staff of SOA heading out together to distribute food and necessities to the elderly at the PEACE-Connect Senior Activity Centre, clean their homes, and spend quality time with them.

Dean of School of Accountancy, Professor Cheng Qiang, kicked off the event with his welcome remarks on the significance of this inaugural event. Firstly, it allowed SOA students, faculty, alumni and staff the opportunity to give back to the community. Secondly, it was a wonderful platform for members of the SOA family to bond and work together as a team. Lastly, SOA Engage would help to realise the University’s Vision 2025—for this city university to integrate with the community.

 

Dean delivering his welcome remarks

 

With this message in mind, the group set off together from the SMU U-Square and made their way on foot, carrying goodie bags to the PEACE-Connect Senior Activity Centre at Beach Road. Participants were intentionally split into pre-assigned groups of four to five, comprising a mix of students, alumni, faculty and staff to encourage everyone to mingle. While it may have been intimidating for students initially, any fears quickly dissipated when it became clear that hierarchy and titles meant little when it came to serving the community.

Upon reaching the Senior Activity Centre, each team was allocated a flat to clean and everyone immediately made their way to their respective flats. The SOA “work hard & play hard” spirit shone through during the cleaning session, with teams strategically dividing the work according to each member’s strengths and preferences, to ensure the work would be done effectively and efficiently.

 

Armed with the right tools, groups proceeded to their allocated flat

 

Of course, SOA Engage was not simply about cleaning the homes of the elderly. The volunteers also engaged the elderly residents, spending time to get to know them.  At the end of the day, it was very rewarding to see the “before” and “after” changes to the flats, even more so when seeing the smiles on the seniors’ faces.

It was also truly a family reunion, as faculty and staff caught up with alumni whom they had watched mature throughout the years, and students saw their professors in a different light as they interacted freely outside the confines of a classroom setting.

 

SOA Engage was about putting a smile on the faces of the residents

 

The inaugural SOA Engage was nothing short of a success. Its success was not simply measured by how many houses were cleaned or how many bags of necessities the volunteers carried to the elderly. Instead, the shared indelible memory of a meaningful day spent with the seniors and with the other members of the SOA family was the most significant measure of all.

 

Faculty and staff of SOA coming together for a good cause

 

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