PolyU teaches our students to be socially responsible global citizens. In 2012/13, as part of a new undergraduate curriculum, the University introduced an experiential pedagogy called Service-Learning that integrates meaningful community service with academic study. We are the first local university to require all undergraduates to complete a credit-bearing Service-Learning subject.
Service-Learning is based on a mutually beneficial spirit of ‘Serve to Learn, Learn to Serve’. It provides services and resources to help those in need and adds to students’ learning experiences and skill sets while strengthening their sense of social responsibility. The University has worked closely with NGOs and community partners to better understand the needs of local communities and tailored the Service-Learning projects accordingly. Our service recipients include the disadvantaged, ethnic minorities and new immigrants, the elderly, deprived households, children and teenagers, and we have developed a broad range of projects ranging from healthcare to environmental improvements.
During the year, 58 service-learning subjects were offered to more than 3,000 students serving numerous communities in Hong Kong, Mainland China and overseas.
During the reporting year, our students served various communities in need through various Service-Learning subjects that were tailored to local needs and covered a broad demographic range in Hong Kong.
Supported by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, PolyU launched the three-year ‘Jockey Club “PolyU Serves” Community Service Project’ in March 2015 to provide community services in Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City. 14 Service-Learning subjects, involving around 1,600 students and staff, will be implemented to improve wellbeing and prospects for about 3,500 users in the districts.
[Photo]: “PolyU Serves”
Troels H. Povlsen Care Apparel Centre of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing organized a fashion design programme integrated with care apparel concepts to serve the elderly and the disabled. Over 350 entries were received from the elderly and disabled people who teamed up with over 100 PolyU students. They created outfits for their loved ones and showcased their design talents at the Youreable Fashion Design 2015 Award Presentation Ceremony.
[Photo]: Engaging Fashion as Communication Media for those in Need
PolyU launched a food recycling project called “Food Share, We Care” to address food waste and other environmental challenges in the city. Our students worked closely with Ever Green Association to collect food donations from the Hung Hom wet market, nearby hawkers and bakeries before distributing them to seniors and poor families. On average, 150 kg of food was collected every evening to help more than 50 individuals and families. Display boards and practical tips were also prepared to educate the community.
[Photo]: You Can Make A Difference to Our Planet
To nurture a sense of global citizenship among our students, PolyU arranged Service-Learning projects in Mainland China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Rwanda and Vietnam. We succeeded in exposing students to complex social and sustainability issues as well as the huge diversity of people's lives so that they could build a deeper understanding.
Through this Service-Learning project, our students visited rural communities in Heyuan, Guangdong to learn more about local conditions and community needs. The students helped farmers promote their crops and plan a switch from growing ordinary garlic to the more profitable black garlic. They learned a lot from two months of farming black garlic and talking with farmers as they gained first-hand experience in sustainable farming in rural China.
[Photo]: Helping farmers to improve the sales of black garlic
Some students travelled to Rwanda to train villagers how to run sustainable electrical systems and information technology facilities. These visitors in the poor Central African nation experienced local living conditions and used their professional knowledge to improve locals’ lives. They also ran workshops for non-governmental organization (NGO) staff and local youths, passing on practical skills and knowledge so that they can conduct regular maintenance and install new systems by themselves to benefit other villagers. Our students also helped set up internet access for our NGO partners’ satellite offices and upgrade the server at their headquarters.
[Photo]: Service Learning across Cultural, Ethnic and Community Lines
As part of our pledge to be a socially responsible university, PolyU seeks to work with renowned universities that are similarly committed. In November 2014, PolyU hosted the Second Summit on University Social Responsibility and Inaugural International Conference on Service-Learning, bringing over 300 participants from 50 higher education institutions around the world together to learn and share best practices in advancing university social responsibility, generating social impact and driving global sustainable development. The successful partnerships and relationships we built on this platform have made our students’ Service-Learning courses more effective.
[Photo]: The Second Summit on University Social Responsibility