[By Vinodh Pillai]
With the intention of bringing newbies together, and helping them adjust to their new campus lives, the Asian Youth Ambassadors (AYA) recently held their i Survived Subang (iSS) ‘Chill and Grill + Unplugged’ session at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus.
The BBQ session, a regular program carried out at different institutes throughout Subang Jaya, kicked off with an ice-breaking session to, as the name suggests, break the ice amongst the new students, and remove the sense of awkwardness in the group. About 60-70 students attended, each one provided with a name tag so they could be easily recognized, referred and spoken to. A delectable barbecue feast, prepared by the iSS initiates and partly catered, was served throughout the event.
The highlight of the night was, undoubtedly, the open mic session, where the students were invited to get up on stage and do an impromptu number, be it a dance, drama, or skit. This received a good response, with many getting comfortable enough after mingling with each other to show off their talents. The day ended with a clean-up of the venue by fellow Taylorians, the mood welcoming and buoyant in the aftermath of the session.
While orientation parties are always a regular part of new terms and semesters, with the common goal of bringing new students together and encouraging them to meet new people, Raymond Thian, a Taylorian and iSS initiate, believes that having such programs carried out on such a large scale actually beats the purpose of making new friends. He comments, “They don’t actually get the opportunity to mingle and chill with other students, and it usually is hard to initiate a conversation, so we help them start it.”
Before carrying out the event, the team spoke to different clubs and groups at the university, such as the Taylor’s University Student Council, to find out and critically evaluate how an average event goes down at Taylor’s University, what costs are involved, and so on. In the end, they managed to successfully plan the night with their help. Financially speaking, the event was covered mostly with money from the organizers’ own pockets.
Apart from hosting BBQ sessions with the freshman and new intakes, the iSS group also takes students on trips to different parts of Subang Jaya “to not just survive, but to thrive” in the town, as their slogan aptly puts it.
“The guides were friendly, and [we were] brought to places they thought we might like. As we passed certain buildings or areas, they would include some tips and recommendations as to where the best places to eat were, and where we could get cheaper movie tickets,” says Felicia Tan, a Foundation in Communication student at Taylor’s Lakeside, who is originally from Kuching, Sarawak.
The iSS team has also visited Taylor’s College Subang campus, Sunway University and Monash University so far, and have had multiple BBQ sessions around the Subang area. But this campaign is more than just a Subang initiative. In fact, the ‘i Survived’ family is continuously growing and helping out first year students not only in other places within Malaysia, such as with i Survived PJ, but on an international scale, with i Survived Botswana and i Survived London just two of its many sister campaigns.