BES Alumni’s first ever reunion among the pioneers

BES Alumni committee

WEIJIAN XUE, Class of 2015, Committee Treasurer

It seems like only yesterday that we proudly donned the hood colours of forest green and aquamarine to receive our BES degree as the inaugural batch of graduates from the programme. It was a proud moment not only because our students had successfully completed a challenging curriculum, but also because it was testament to the commitment of the younger generation to preserve environmental sustainability by devoting their undergraduate studies to it. It is heartening to see strong enrolment in this unique programme, as well as sustained confidence in the novel education pedagogy. I wish BES, on its 5th birthday, continued success in its journey to train a new breed of students who can think both broadly and deeply about environmental issues, and who will permeate all sectors of society to effect change in government policies and business practices for a sustainable future.

NICHOLAS ANG, Class of 2015, Committee President

In social situations I often get asked, “so what do you guys study?” Now that I have had a year of experience answering that question, I’ve developed a ‘fast-thinking’ answer: “I learned from BES how to think.”

Henry Ford said famously that “whether you think you can or cannot, you are right.” Ultimately, I believe it is the quality of your thinking that matters most. Otherwise you might be climbing the wrong ladders all your life. What good would that be?
Trying to solve multi-faceted problems from a single angle (say, engineering or law) will almost always be met with flat results. That is why BES students are trained to be the opposite, to appraise a problem from every possible angle. This combines with the solid education in both natural and social sciences we received to give me confidence in aptly thinking about and solving problems, environmental or otherwise.

BES is now officially 5 years old – that is quite hard to believe! Having learned tremendously from the programme, I wish for many more good years to come for the benefit of future students and for our future society. Happy fifth anniversary, BES!

WENDY ANG, Class of 2015, Committee Vice-President

When I first saw that NUS was offering a degree on Environmental Studies, I did not hesitate in applying for a place in it. Till now, I did not regret joining BES because it has offered me so many varied opportunities in studying about the environment. The multi and interdisciplinary approach taken in BES has broadened my perspective in learning about the environment we live it, and it has definitely helped me in my teaching career, where I pass on the knowledge of and love for the environment to my students. Most importantly, BES is made up of a close knitted community founded on our passion for the environment and strong friendships forged. And this does not end when one graduates from BES, as NUSESA was set up to allow BES alumni to forge deeper friendships and yet at the same time, contributing back to BES and the community at large. Being in the pioneer batch, it is rewarding to see how BES has grown thus far and the partnerships made with MEM and APCEL. Happy 5-15-20 anniversaries to BES, MEM and APCEL!

XIN YI CHUA, Class of 2015, Committee Secretary

Five years ago, I chanced upon a publicity flyer for the then ‘newly-minted’ Bachelor of Environmental Studies course – and that sparked off an unconventionally fun and yet challenging journey, that till today makes me eternally grateful that I chanced upon that flyer. Aside from equipping us with various perspectives in looking at the plethora of environmental challenges facing our world today, I think one of the greatest success of the program was how it managed to make learning come alive for us. It taught us to think beyond the proposed solutions – and scrutinise the effectiveness of solutions, even those with the most well-placed intentions. Beyond the rigour of thinking that the course imparted, it also imparted us a deep sense of passion and responsibility for the environment around us. On this 5th anniversary for BES, I would like to take the chance to wish for the continued success and vibrancy of the programme in educating and inspiring the younger generation!