The ICA-AP Committee on University/Campus Co-operatives (ICUC) held its 10th Annual Meeting at Seacare Hotel, Singapore on 4 October 2018. The meeting and study visit on day after, was hosted by the Singapore National Co-op Federation (SNCF).

The Committee was set up to nurture and encourage the next generation in educational institutes to join the co-operative movement, through the formation and development of University/Campus Co-operatives. The meeting was attended by members and observers from India, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines and the host, Singapore. Other members from Pakistan, Palestine and Korea, who were unable to make it, observed the meeting through video-conferencing.

The meeting was held in the usual decorum, covering key discussions on the constitution amendments, updates by the member countries, election of the new terms, and the framework for research proposal. One of the key resolutions of the meeting, was to come out with a 10-year plan.

Amidst the usual fair, SNCF managed to sneak the participants out for a café lunch at the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District. Royz et Vous – located just opposite Singapore’s oldest Thien Hock Keng Chinese temple – played host to the 22-member entourage and served their best.

The Seacare Co-operative hosted the evening buffet dinner with an array of local cuisines in its wholly-owned Seacare Hotel. Amongst the participants were first-time visitors to Singapore, and they certainly appreciated the mini-stalls where food was prepared ‘live’ for them. The dinner was hosted by Chairman Mr Leow and Deputy Group CEO Ms Shena Foo.

Day 2 was a more relaxed but informative affair.

The participants arrived at the SLF building, where the SNCF office is sited, to gain a better understanding of the strategic work of the apex body in the campus sector in Singapore. SNCF also shared about how they use technology, art and innovation, to remain relevant and attractive to the Singaporean Youths!

Soon after, the participants were brought to the NTUC Warehouse Club @ Joo Koon, located at the far west side of Singapore that is just a stone’s throw away from Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Some of the participants queued up like a typical Singaporean, at NTUC Foodfare Co-operative foodcourt for lunch, whilst others opted for their much-craved fast food. Following that was a little ‘retail shopping spree’ at NTUC Warehouse Club. While the participants were mindful of their luggage weight and space, the discount coupon offered by NTUC Fairprice Co-operative did incentivise them.

The day ended with a last stop at the Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) The Hive. The building, where the Coop@NTU is located, was designed by award-winning British designer Thomas Heatherwick (who also designed the 2012 London Olympics cauldron). The participants were keen to visit this university co-operative, as it was the first student led co-op in Singapore, and addresses a key challenge in the co-operative movement in Asia Pacific’s campus sector (Read here for a guide to NTU!). The Chairman, Ken, who is a third year Accounting student in NTU, was re-voted as the Chairman and is now serving his second term. He shared how his student COM peers and the staff COM worked together and tapped on the latter’s experiences in running the take-away café as well as the retail store.

Chelsea Levardo, a college student from The Philippines who attended the 2-day meeting cum study visit, said: “SNCF’s hospitality is beyond expectation. I loved the whole experience. Thank you for inviting us!” It was also her first visit to the island state. Some of the participants took the weekend to do some sight-seeings and shopping before returning back to their co-ops with fresh ideas on-board!