By Nicole Fang
A fresh ‘identity’ is given to students who take part in camps to foster a sense of belonging
Student Leaders (SLs) bond with freshmen through a shared ‘identity’ made from an assortment of accessories in their tribe’s colours.
‘Identities’ that are unique to each tribe serve as a way for campers and SLs alike to flaunt their tribe’s personality. They typically include bandanas and braids in each tribe’s colours, and can be tied around the head, arm or even around the straps of bags. Often, SLs would also coordinate with one another to have an ‘identity’ that is exclusively for themselves, creating a clear distinction between themselves and the freshmen, whom are better known as ‘freshies’.
Joeshua Ng, 18, a second-year Molecular Biotechnology student, says that camp identities play a major role because they give the ‘freshies’ an obvious leader to follow throughout the camp.
Orientation camps mainly allow for the new intake of students to make friends and give them the opportunity to connect with their seniors, essentially introducing them to an experienced mentor from whom they can get advice if they have any questions about school.
Adorned with the extra accessories that ‘freshies’ lack, SLs stand out in way that makes them memorable even after the camp is over.
Both Mr Ng and Jean Yeo, 19, also mentioned that it is impossible to purchase a camp ‘identity’ for every ‘freshie’ in the camp. They did, however, either purchase some small gifts or make DIY necklaces for their ‘freshies’ to remember the camp by.
Ms Yeo, a final-year Mass Communication student who has been involved in several camps in different capacities, recalls that during her stint as an SL, her team decided on fake septum piercings as their tribe identity. It resulted in eager ‘freshies’ who could not wait to put it on and ‘a lot of the other SLs [remembering] that [they] were the sub tribe with the septum piercings’.
“I see [‘identities’] as something like a badge of honour,” says Ms Yeo. “Whether it’s the ‘freshies’ or the SLs, when they wear it, the purpose is to show off your pride and your loyalty to your tribe or sub tribe.”
The enjoyment that ‘freshies’ experience during camps may not solely be credited to the ‘identities’, but they are a tradition that exhibits the kind of bond one forges through these camps.
Adam Kuck, 20, a second-year in Information Technology says, “Honestly, as a freshie, I didn’t care too much about [camp] fashion, but when I became a crew [member], I realised how camp fashion can be a way to show that we, crew or SLs, stand as one. It gives me pride as I stand with my crew members, identified as one big family just because of the camp fashion that we’ve standardised together.”
Various camps will be held across Ngee Ann Polytechnic before the start of the new semester. Check out the dates of these camps here!