Foster Resilient Communities

About The Strategy

SMU’s efforts are aimed at going beyond environmental sustainability to encompass social sustainability. Social sustainability is achieved when people are healthy and able to lead lives that are satisfying. This requires them to be able to not only manage and recover from, but also thrive, in the wake of life’s stresses and crises. We recognise that we must build a resilient SMU community – such that we can succeed and flourish together – to be able to deliver on all that we would like to achieve. Our fourth and last strategy speaks to this aspiration. 

We also recognise that a resilient sustainable community is one that is diverse and inclusive. It is the diversity of thought and ideas that distinguishes us as a vibrant, engaging, and inventive community. To succeed as a diverse community, we must also learn to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.

Related United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs)
UNSDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
UNSDG 4 - Quality Education
UNSDG 5 - Gender Equality
UNSDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
UNSDG 10 - Required Inequalities
UNSDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
Our Achievements

In 2021, SMU launched the SMU Resilience Framework, clearly articulating how we plan to support our students to build resilience. The Framework reinforces our multi-pronged approach to promoting and supporting mental well-being. Through active engagement and close partnership with students, the University aims to build their capabilities and empower them to make choices towards a more fulfilling life, even when faced with difficult and stressful situations. The launch of this Framework gives us a solid basis to think about how best we can expand and support the building of a resilient community across the entire SMU community. 

We also offer students access to a range of support initiatives, such as professional counselling services through the Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre (MWKLSWC), SMU Peer Helpers, and informal peer support networks through Orientation for freshman and co-curriculum activity groups. Likewise, faculty and staff have access to a range of support services like professional counselling services through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). They can also participate in community events like SMU Family Day, Amazing Race, and social bonding workshops.


Adapted from Hettler’s model that reflects the six dimensions of wellness, the SMU Resilience Framework defines resilience as an active process through which people develop the awareness of, and the ability to make choices towards a more successful life, even when faced with difficulties.

Our Goals
Promote a Holistic Approach Towards the Wellbeing of the SMU Community

Our emphasis on wellbeing underscores how the definition of sustainability should include meeting the physical, emotional, and social needs of human individuals. We believe that when we achieve wellbeing, we are in a better position to improve the wellbeing of fellow members of society, as well as take better care of our built and natural environment. SMU aims to achieve this through the following four approaches:

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Establish visible leadership: The leads for key University initiatives come from different segments of the SMU community, ensuring that a range of different voices are being heard and represented. In addition, we will establish a Resilience Communities Committee to guide policy implementation. It will include students, faculty, and staff across a spectrum of University functions.

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Strengthen preventive efforts: We have put in place a range of education initiatives for students, faculty, and staff, such as weekly fitness classes and health talks. We are reviewing our existing range of education initiatives and will broaden and deliver more targeted programmes for students and staff that will strengthen self-awareness, resilience, and self-efficacy. In addition, the SMU Resilience Framework will be expanded to staff and contextualised to their needs.

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Enhance support systems: We will raise the awareness of support services to specific members of our community, as well as strengthen the informal and formal support systems that students, faculty, and staff can make use of. Just as important, we will refine the feedback processes so that students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to raise concerns in a timely manner.

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Leverage collaborative partnerships: We cannot and should not champion and build resilience alone, and are grateful to have support from our partners. For students, we have an expert panel of external psychiatrists and psychologists that supports our school counsellors and an advisory board that partners Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre. For the wellbeing of faculty and staff, we also enjoy close partnerships with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) on Health Workplace Ecosystem.

Promote a Diverse and Inclusive Community on Campus

Plans aimed at enhancing social sustainability must support a high level of wellbeing for the long-term. Bearing this in mind, SMU proposes a range of initiatives to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). SMU supports a range of diversities – of cultures, nationalities, talents, and abilities – and undertakes to effect fair and equitable policies and processes, and to promote inclusive practices. 

To promote diversity and inclusion on campus, we have developed a framework through close consultation with students, faculty, and staff. It includes the following four approaches:


Promote a diverse and inclusive community on campus


Trusted leaders in SMU to spearhead and promote Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.​

​& Support

Infrastructure, systems, and resources to support Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts.​​

​Culture & Experience​

DE&I as integral parts of the SMU values, culture, and experience.

Diverse & Collaborative Communities​

OneSMU community forging partnerships, collaborations and adopting inclusive practices to integrate and reflect diverse communities.​​

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Leadership: In 2021, we formed the Gender Equity Taskforce, led by Vice Provost (Faculty Matters), to review our policies and practices for faculty. The Gender Equity Report that came from this review highlighted that while SMU formal policies are fair and gender neutral, there is room for improvement in specific areas, such as women representation in higher ranks and senior leadership. We are reviewing and working on implementing the recommendations from the Report, and where applicable, these recommendations will also be adapted for staff. Across staff and faculty, we will identify strategies to improve the gender balance at the University’s key governance and management committees.

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Infrastructure Support: SMU will ensure that its infrastructure, systems, and resources support Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts. We have reviewed SMU’s Human Resources-related policies and processes such as grievance process and faculty housing supplement, to ensure that they are fair, objective, and unbiased. We will also review accessibility plans of SMU campus buildings and develop policies for recruitment and integration of differently abled persons.

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Values, Culture, and Experience: It is important that Diversity, Equity & Inclusion principles are infused in our everyday practices, and are integral parts of the SMU values, culture, and experience. To that end, SMU has already put in place several initiatives, such as the policy on ‘Sexual Harassment and other Workplace Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying’ and 'Conflict of Interest', and is exploring how to train hiring managers to be aware of unconscious biases. Besides, training will be provided to students, faculty, and staff on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion concepts and principles.

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Engaged Diverse and Collaborative Communities: As a OneSMU community, we believe in forging partnerships and collaborations, and adopting inclusive practices to integrate and reflect diverse communities. In addition to reviewing the admission and recruitment processes for students, faculty, and staff respectively, we will also strengthen our support for under represented groups within the SMU community, such as parents with special needs children. We are also looking for outreach and partnerships with external agencies and bodies that can amplify and/or complement our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts.

Play Your Part in Sustainability


Get Active, Feel Good

Download the SMU Resilience app today on the Apple App Store!

Join SMU Verts

SMU VERTS is our environmental sustainability club. They promote eco-friendly habits and engage the SMU community through hands-on workshops and other activities.
Our Measurement of Progress

A Resilience Communities Steering Committee, comprising representatives from across the SMU community, will be established to oversee the implementation, coordination, and reporting of policies and initiatives to promote the holistic wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff, and to nurture a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We will strengthen the formal and informal support policies, practices, and systems to promote the wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff, and facilitate their full participation in University life. To augment the support system for students, student care officers were appointed, trained, and deployed in August 2022.

By December 2023, the University will have a reasonable adjustment policy and resources in place to guide the creation of a safe, healthy, and inclusive environment for differently abled faculty, staff, and students.

As part of ongoing efforts at evaluating our progress and to make continuous improvements, listening strategies such as pulse surveys and focus groups, as well as validated indicators such as ROSA's 7-item Resilience Index, will be used to track the resilience of students, faculty, and staff over time and identify areas for actions. SMU will have verifiable and actionable practices that comply with the Tripartite Standards of a Progressive Employer by December 2024.


Initiative 1

Set up a Resilience Communities Steering Committee that oversees the implementation, coordination, and reporting of policies and initiatives to promote the holistic wellbeing of students

Initiative 2

Broaden range of education initiatives that promote self-awareness, resilience, and self-efficacy

Initiative 3

Strengthen informal and formal support systems that students can make use of

Initiative 4

Enhance awareness of support services so that they are known and accessible to different members of the community

Initiative 5

Learn from and share best practices in the area of holistic wellbeing of students

Initiative 1

Broaden range of resources that promotes personalisation and self-care

Initiative 2

Enhance programmes to provide better community support

Initiative 3

Provide dedicated resources for enhanced support to faculty and staff

Initiative 4

Enhance partnerships and promote a culture of 'giving back'

Initiative 5

Build capabilities of leaders and managers to lead with empathy

Initiative 6

Strengthen communication and awareness-building efforts


L1: Identify and agree on key focus areas of SMU’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion goals and priorities

L2: Develop training for leaders (HODs, AOs and ROs) on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion concepts and principles

L3: Identify strategies for improving gender balance at the University’s key governance and management committees

Infrastructure ​& Support

I1: Review HR-related policies and processes to enhance equity and inclusion

I2: Review accessibility plans of SMU campus buildings

I3: Develop policies for recruitment and integration of differently-abled persons

Values, ​Culture & Experience​

V1: Develop training for students, staff and faculty on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion concepts and principles

V2: Evaluate sufficiency of policy and processes against harassment, bullying and discrimination

V3: Infuse Diversity, Equity & Inclusion principles into SMU brand and everyday practices

Engaged​ Diverse & Collaborative Communities​​

E1: Review admission processes for students and employees to enhance equity and inclusion

E2: Strengthen support for underrepresented groups within SMU (e.g., senior staff near retirement, parents with special needs children, single parents)

E3: Outreach and partnerships with relevant agencies and bodies that can amplify and/or complement SMU’s Sustainability and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts


Diverse-City 2020 & 2021 was launched by SMU’s Diversity, Inclusion & Integration (DII) unit and SMU International Connections.
An annual festival that celebrates different cultures and identities, the event aims to foster an appreciation of contrasting backgrounds, heritage, and traditions towards an inclusive student community.

Logo of Diverse City
The Sustainability Project

Joline Tang

Sustainability isn't just a buzzword for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) publicity. Increasingly, individuals are recognising that their own lifestyle changes can make a difference towards slowing down climate change. One such individual dedicated to helping others become more ethical and sustainable consumers is SMU School of Accountancy alumna Joline Tang, founder of The Sustainability Project—an online information resource and store for zero-waste products. Joline shares how she became a sustainable-living advocate, and some tips she has for individuals who need help getting started on their low- or zero-waste lifestyle.

Photo of Joline Tang

Last updated: 6 September 2022

Mental Health Week 2022

On 18 October 2022, SMU launched its new Resilience@SMU App and SMU Resilience Framework website for the SMU Community at the start of its annual Mental Health Week (MHW) which took place from 18 to 21 October 2022. It was held in conjunction with World Mental Health Day.

This year’s campaign theme, ‘Get Active, Feel Good’ emphasises the importance of physical resilience – sleep, nutrition, physical activity and creating a safe environment for oneself, and its direct correlation to our overall mental health and wellbeing. Programmes included booths, food recipe competition, physical activities, workshops and talks for the SMU Community to learn more about physical resilience.

Visit the Mental Health Week intranet site to learn more.

Download the SMU Resilience app today!

Last updated: 6 September 2022