SMU opens new on-campus residence after $10m facelift

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Singapore Management University (SMU) undergraduates have a new space to call home on campus - the Prinsep Street Residences (PSR).

The 5,000 sq m living facility in the heart of the city has housed 255 students since August, after undergoing a $10 million facelift.

The three blocks of apartments along Prinsep Street have been converted into an area not just for living but also learning, with a multi-purpose lounge and rooms for projects, meetings and seminars.

There are 23 apartments, most of which house 10 to 12 students each, and come with a common living room.

About 400 students had applied to stay at the residences, which were officially opened yesterday by Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District.

Students who live at PSR are encouraged to take up projects that will benefit society. About 70 students have joined community service projects.

Second-year student Esther Chong, 20, is part of a team working to help women with low incomes use skills like sewing to earn more via home-based businesses.

Students also attend workshops and sharing sessions.

Professor Paulin Straughan, dean of students at SMU, said students must learn teamwork, adding: "Real world problems, very seldom, can be solved by an individual."

Students pay rent of around $690 to $880 a month, including utility charges.

Around half the residents are Singaporeans with the rest coming from overseas.

The living fees for 10 of the students have been sponsored by Frank by OCBC Bank - a financial literacy programme. This is part of the SMU's partnership with the bank, which will also fund students' projects on sustainability.

First-year student Chang Wen Yee, 19, said: "I get to interact with students from five to six nationalities in my apartment. I never knew as a local student that I could get an international experience."