By Clarissa Low
Photos: Lisabelle Tan
The USP Freshmen Orientation Programme (FOP) saw a slew of activities taking place over a period of nearly two months, from Scholaris to Orientation Camp and Orientation Week, before ending off with Dinner & Dance (D&D). The snazzy event was held at the NUSS Guild House last Friday (Aug 15), with both freshmen and seniors dressed to the nines for an elaborate evening. With the theme of Ethos, the Greek word meaning ‘character’, it aptly concluded the wars waged in the form of games throughout the orientation period, and the ensuing stability when they worked together to overcome the challenges they faced after the revelation that all six houses were in fact reincarnations who represented different facets of one person’s personality.
Soon after registering and having a go at the photo booth (service provided by One Click Live), the freshmen made their way to their seats in the ballroom. The tables that the various houses had reserved were personalised, much to our surprise. For my house, Nocturna, a black flag with the handwritten characters ‘忍者’ (the Japanese character for ninja), was planted prominently on the centre of the table, adorned with black origami ninja stars which proudly signified our house identity. After we settled down, the seniors made their grand entrance in pairs and performed a ballroom dance, but things became more exciting when the freshmen were invited to join in as well. Though shy at first, many graciously accepted the offer – after all, what would D&D be without a dance?
But neither would D&D be complete without a good dinner. We made a beeline to the counters, where we were treated to salads, delectable mains, and of course, dessert. Then came the highlight of the night – Ingenio! Freshmen from all six houses formed groups to perform in the limelight, in a show-off aiming to bring out the best talent that each house had to offer. Music and dance featured heavily in Ingenio – the audience members were enthralled by powerful vocalists and musicians’ mash-ups of popular songs as well as sleek dance moves from the flexible dancers. Other memorable acts include Team Elysium’s touching performance of their self-composed ballad dedicated to their house, encapsulating the fond memories shared and friendships forged during orientation, to Team Averyes’ hilarious (and somewhat meta) skit, which depicted a talent competition entitled ‘Hell’s Bells’ that featured heavily on puns.
After tabulating the online votes, the winner of Ingenio was presented to Team #nosweat from Azarya! They had performed a medley of songs like Gotye feat. Kimbra’s Somebody that I Used to Know and Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, with the accompaniment of a trumpet, guitar and other musical instruments. Team #nosweat’s vocalist Rosalinda shared some of her thoughts on her team’s win: “It goes without saying that we are overjoyed! Personally, it was quite unexpected because other houses put up really creative performances, and it’s very heartening to know how much talent there is in USP.”
Additionally, there was the much-awaited crowning of Miss and Mr USC 2014 – Miss USC was awarded to Israel Zeng of Arachne, who performed a compelling Cantonese rap that got the audience members cracking up in amusement, while Bryan Leong of Elysium took the crown of Mr USC this year. To wrap up D&D, the seniors’ appreciation videos were screened, conveying the many heartfelt words the freshmen had for the seniors to thank them for all the hard work they put in to make FOP successful. That being said, with D&D marking the end of FOP, I’m sure most freshmen like me have made several new companions and forged many wonderful memories throughout orientation that will stay close with us in our years ahead in USP.