Landing in Singapore after a 24-hour flight from the United States is not an ideal situation for anyone, especially when Open House is only three hours after landing. After two months of summer break, I was walking towards the high school steps. There, I realized something was off—and it wasn’t the unhealthy amount of middle schoolers loitering there. The hallway to my left was painted a new bright red color and read Singapore American School down one side and The Eagle Way down the other. No matter how bad my memory was, I knew without a doubt that this hadn’t been there last year. After further inspection, it was clear to the observant eye: this wasn’t the only change that happened over the summer.
SAS has been considering a rebrand for several years. Through specific refreshes to our website, social media, image, and architecture, the Communications Department has been working hard to foster pride and a sense of belonging in students, parents, and families at SAS. Mrs. Vanessa Spier, Director of Strategic Communications here at SAS, believes that “it’s important for students, our faculty, our parents, … every visitor to SAS campus, to get a sense of the pride of our community when they’re here…We are Eagle Country and we’re really excited to be here, and that’s a good thing for our community to rally around.”
It’s a subtle cue to our visiting competitors that they have entered ‘Eagle Country’, that we’re excited to play – Vanessa Spier
Not only has Mrs. Spier taken into consideration the SAS community, but also prospective families. As admission tours are led during school breaks, the vibrant life of the campus can seem quite distant with a lack of students and teachers present. With the help of these new visual elements, stories can be told even without students in classrooms. “If I can help explain outside of these spaces what’s happening, a couple short paragraphs, maybe a photo, maybe an infographic, that helps tell the story as well,” Mrs. Spier added. “So, it’s using our own facilities, it’s free space, free advertising space, to tell the SAS story for all of our audiences.”
One of the largest changes to the SAS campus this summer was the revamped high school bridge leading to the gyms. The walls and columns were covered by crimson paint, large prints of our student-athletes, and the school’s core values. The idea was introduced by Dr. Fahrney and Mr. Criens, who wanted to emphasize a greater sense of school spirit and ownership in IASAS events.
“We’ve had an increase in elementary students going to IASAS events and making signs for our visiting teams to welcome them onto campus. We just want to increase that,” said Mrs. Spier. “It’s a subtle cue to our visiting competitors that they have entered ‘Eagle Country’, that we’re excited to play.”
Senior Katie Sun also agreed with this, saying that “before, the bridge to the gym was plain and didn’t have as much character. Now we have a style and design that shows our heart and attitude.” The communications team worked with a facilities team on this project to be as cost-effective as possible so as to avoid using tuition dollars, but still have it reflect SAS as a world leader in international schools.
“For that hallway, we, administrators, came back I think the third week of July,” Mrs. Spier continued. “It went from concept to completion before Open House, and it’s not usually that fast. That was really fast.” These projects timelines can range from a few weeks to more than a year, depending on budget and design capability.
The revamped high school bridge is lined with posters of students and alumni and values that have become synonymous with an SAS education. Mrs. Spier confirmed that it’s a “message to our students; these are important things to us, and these are values that our community lives by.” It’s not only about home turf, however. These indicators also show visitors what we value. She added: “This is the kind of community we are, so it’s a little bit of transparency about who we are and what we aspire to be, what we try to live up to, what we expect of our students and adults.”
SAS isn’t planning to stop with the athletic bridge. There are plenty of other extracurriculars ready to be showcased in the hallways. Mrs. Spier is currently working with Mr. Millar and Mrs. White to tell stories of robotics alumni. They’re in the process of gathering stories, figuring out the layout, what the hallway space is, and how they can show some of the things that SAS alumni go on to do. “Since they have posters for dance and sports, they should now add a few for the arts and music,” said senior Katie Sun. “Then we can represent more aspects of SAS as a whole.”
Mrs. Spier is also currently planning on redesigning the hallway leading to performing arts spaces. Presently, there are only old posters from past shows about ten feet high lining the dark hallway. “It’s not the best impression considering the kinds of shows that our students put on are just amazing,” Mrs. Spier said, “So I’d like to use a lot more photos of things that our students actually do, photos of shows, photos of them actually in process, in practices and rehearsals.”
The SAS bridge is just one example of the movement to rebrand SAS. Through these bright red walls to the large prints of “The Eagle Way”, the communications office ultimately strives to instill pride in our community as students and faculty alike. Through visuals, video, and digital work, the communications department is on a steady mission to showcase and tell the stories of the countless outstanding student achievements and journeys of SAS. “Our students do incredible things,” Mrs. Spier said. “They create amazing projects, and if we can show some of that visually in the school, then we can all be proud of [these accomplisments].”