Students were seen running or walking up and down sports ladders outside Makan Place, while holding a steps tracker, during the lunch hour break on Nov 16, 2016.
They were taking part in a fringe activity jointly organised by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and Student Development Office to promote and attract new sign-ups for the Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s (NP) Steps for Good Challenge, which aims to raise funds for the NP Student Aid Fund.
Students were given 30 seconds each to clock as many steps as possible on their trackers, and were free to choose their preferred mode to complete the activity, which ranged from walking to running and hopping.
More than 110 students participated in the activity and signed up for the challenge that day. However, the turnout was “much lower than expected”. In order to get more students to take part, rovers were on site to approach unsuspecting students in the vicinity.
Ms Ang Yuanting, assistant project manager at Spark Planners, and the person in charge of the event, said: “We expected 200.” She attributed the low participation to flexible timetables that polytechnic students had.
Students who had taken the time to take part in the sports ladder felt that it was a meaningful activity. Dominic Goana, a second-year Marine and Offshore Technology student, said: “It’s a really innovative way to spread the message to exercise, and I think it’s amazing that NP is taking the initiative.”
Second-year Accountancy student Ho Sheng Ru thought that it was “quite fun for a one-time thing” and that “it’s a good and simple thing to do” that can raise awareness about the programme.
Final-year Business and Social Enterprise student Nur Badrisyia enjoyed the activity knowing that every step was for a good cause. She said: “If I can make a difference just by making a step, why not?” She would consider signing up for the challenge after doing more research to find out how her steps can contribute to the beneficiary. The school’s hockey team player also thought that she walks a lot without realising, therefore 10,000 steps a day would be “achievable” for her.
However, not all students shared the same sentiments as Badrisyia. Valeria Ng, a first-year Early Childhood Education student who had signed up for the Steps for Good Challenge about three weeks before the sports ladder activity, found it “very tedious” to clock in even 5,000 steps daily. She felt that since students take buses and the MRT, and do not walk much, the daily target should be set to 5,000 steps instead.
These are the type of students that the Steps for Good Challenge is trying to target. The programme aims to encourage students to be more physically active. Mr Dalton Lie, student development officer and NP coordinator for the Steps for Good Challenge, acknowledges that achieving 10,000 steps daily is not easy, and that students will have to make an effort in order to reach the target.
As of Feb 8, 2017, 3,210 participants have accumulated a total of 14,889 days with at least 10,000 steps. If participants manage to reach 50,000 days with more than 10,000 steps each day by Apr 2, $2,000 will be donated to the needy students of the NP Student Aid Fund.