Renovation of SMU urban residences to offer students a place to live and learn from August, Parenting & Education News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Singapore Management University (SMU) urban accommodation will soon go beyond simply providing a place to stay for students by providing them with learning spaces as well.

From August 2018, undergraduates can stay in the residences on Prinsep Street, which will be the university’s test bed for a new concept of residential learning and living that it is exploring more and more. long term.

The three four-story apartment blocks along Prinsep Street are former Singapore Improvement Trust blocks and previously housed around 260 SMU students, 90% of whom were foreigners.

At the time, the accommodations were designed primarily to stay on campus, with no additional facilities or learning programs.

But since January, renovations, which cost around $ 10 million, have started to convert the 5,000 m² space into a space where students can live and learn together.

It will have 23 shared apartments with lounges and common areas for 255 students.

Students living in the residences, which are on long-term rental at SMU until 2032, will be able to use spaces such as a multi-purpose lounge and a work-play lounge for projects, meetings and seminars. For starters, the university hopes to attract students interested in entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and building new clubs.

  • Live and learn on other campuses

  • National University of Singapore (NUS)

    – Students have a few options – five residential colleges, seven university residences and two student residences. A total of 11,000 campus places are offered each year, while the university has approximately 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
    – About half of NUS freshmen stay on campus. Each year, approximately 2,700 freshmen apply to stay in halls and student residences, while approximately 1,900 freshmen apply for a place in one of the five residential colleges.
    – Residential Colleges – the first of their kind in Singapore when they were established in 2011 – offer two-year programs where students take modules in small classrooms, and live and learn alongside peers and faculty.

    Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
    – NTU has opened six residential halls in the past two years, bringing its total to 24 halls now.
    – The residential halls house 14,200 undergraduates in total, meeting more than 90 percent of the current demand to stay on campus.
    – Some rooms have made room for a range of learning programs such as a garage for making and DIYing prototypes and technologies.

    Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
    – Currently, nearly 1,000 students – about 70 percent of the undergraduate population – live on campus.
    – It is mandatory for all SUTD first year students to stay in the hostel during their first year, to help build strong friendships upon arrival at the institution.
    – Typically, around 90 percent of undergraduates in second to fourth year of study who request to stay on campus are assigned a place.

With the renovated residences, located an eight-minute walk from the SMU campus, the university will do more to measure the learning outcomes of projects by having students write down reflections.

Students will pay a monthly fee of $ 590 for a double room or $ 772 for a single room.

They can start applying for places from March, and at least half of the slots will be reserved for Singaporeans. This could go up to 70 percent, depending on demand.

EMS Marshal Lily Kong said Monday (February 12) in a briefing, “It’s more than a roof over their heads. It’s building a community (of students) for the community.”

SMU’s dean of students, Paulin Straughan, said it would help connect students with community-relevant project ideas to voluntary welfare organizations and associations.

“We want to encourage like-minded students to come together and make a difference,” she added.

Professor Kong said, “A lot of times learning is not a five-hour, three-hour, two-hour activity… You work until 11 p.m., midnight, and you go home.”

She added that over the years, students have expressed a desire to live on campus.

“This is something SMU has not offered to a large extent,” she said, due to the high cost of housing in the city.

A staff member of SMU, Ms. Lim Wensi, responsible for Diversity, Inclusion and Inclusion in the Dean of Students office, will live in the residences and will be known as an intern in residence, while the director from SMU’s Office of Student Life, Kenneth Tan, will oversee the programs as a Prinsep Fellow.


Professor Straughan said SMU is looking for more long-term residential sites, if students are interested.

These sites may be further from the main campus, so the cost of living may be more affordable, she said.

Residence life and learning has been a part of the student experience for a number of years at other universities, such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).


Ho Wen Siang, first year business student at SMU, said, “When we applied to university two years ago, I knew people who preferred to go to NUS or NTU because they offered campus life, unlike SMU. “

The 21-year-old, who has said the cost of living will be a deciding factor for students, is keen to find out more before applying for the new residences.

“But it’s great that it’s in the heart of the city, you can easily walk anywhere,” he said.

“I stay in Jurong East, an hour from campus, so traveling is about two hours a day. Instead of traveling, I could devote more time to fruitful things (staying on campus).

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Kevin T. McElroy

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