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USRN Launches a Pioneering Virtual Boot Camp: Social Innovations for a Sustainable Future

The first ever USRN Virtual Boot Camp kicked off on 5 July 2022, calling for students over the world to decode complex global challenges under the COVID new normal and to aim high by applying innovative and impactful solutions for an inclusive and sustainable future. The USRN Virtual Boot Camp, themed “Innovating for the COVID New Normal”, is a new initiative of the University Social Responsibility Network (USRN) in collaboration with Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation (JCDISI) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). The Virtual Boot Camp received an overwhelming response from students of USRN member institutions. In their applications, students were requested to present existing solutions or ideas that had emerged out of the COVID pandemic which they believed to have the potential to create social good. Upon careful evaluation, 45 outstanding students from Hong Kong, Japan, Mainland China, South Africa, South Korea and the Philippines were shortlisted to join the Camp. Throughout July 2022, they participated in teams in workshops and in sessions specifically designed for the teams to explore ideas and their possible future adoption. “The emergence of ‘COVID New Normal’ gives rise to numerous social innovations and practices across different communities, countries and continents, serving their unique contextual social requirements. All these creativities have laid the groundwork for this USRN Boot Camp,” said Professor Ben Young, USRN Co-Chair and PolyU Vice President (Student and Global Affairs), in his welcome remarks during the Virtual Boot Camp online briefing session. He added that since most universities had enhanced their digital education and communication infrastructures, USRN students were increasingly well-equipped to have confident exchanges with others online. “’Online Communication, Virtual Studying’ is a new education model which, it is anticipated, will outlast the pandemic. With the advances in AI technology, our lifestyles will be re-defined through the integration of physical mobility and virtual interaction,” he remarked. Professor Young explained the multiple purposes of the Virtual Boot Camp in this new era – to address social issues, to drive social innovations for unmet social needs, to facilitate a global exchange of ideas and practices, and to inspire the young generation to innovate for a better future. He encouraged students to make full use of the precious opportunities during the Virtual Boot Camp, to stretch their creative horizons and address societal challenges together. Mr. Ling Kar-kan, Director of JCDISI, also invited student participants of the Virtual Boot Camp to be courageous and creative to make solutions, “Only when you can be creative and innovative can the world’s future become bright” At disruptive times, such as during the COVID pandemic, innovations bring the potential to challenge existing social norms and drive forward a sustainable future. “You may share your unique experience of the disruption caused by COVID and innovate solutions to help people overcome various problems. We believe there are many opportunities for us to learn from each other’s experiences and insights,” added Mr. Ling, who in the same briefing session, advocated for transformingthe inconvenience caused by COVID into opportunities. In addition to the student participants, the Virtual Boot Camp welcomed 11 Expert Speakers and seven Specialist Mentors from USRN member institutions from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Mainland China, South Africa, South Korea, the Netherlands and the Philippines, to share insights on innovations for life in the COVID New Normal. These experienced social innovators guided students to explore and adopt ideas, and design prototypes that have the potential to social good. Students showcased their idea adoption projects on the last day of the Virtual Boot Camp on 30 July 2022. Innovative social ideas which can address the needs of the identified users, present originality and potential for scalable adoption, and show promise in enhancing inclusivity in the community were awarded a seed funding to further develop and transform their ideas into actions. They will be further given an opportunity to showcase their solution development journeys at the Social Innovation Regional Forum 2022 organised by JCDISI later this year.

3 Aug, 2022

Global Engagement Office

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GEO holds Attaché Inauguration and Recognition Ceremony

On 10 May 2022, the Global Engagement Office held an online Inauguration and Recognition Ceremony for Attachés, who are tasked with promoting PolyU to prospective international students and guests at key events. In his welcoming speech, Prof. Geoffrey Shen (Director of Global Engagement) congratulated the Attachés for their honourary appointment and encouraged them to make the most of their training and learning opportunities. Devanshee Mishra (Faculty of Engineering, Year 4), who has served as an Attaché since 2020, shared her rewarding journey connecting with students and parents worldwide. Prof. Shen took the opportunity to express his heartfelt appreciation to all the departing Attachés for their dedicated service in the previous year.

25 May, 2022

Global Engagement Office

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USRN Webinar Series: Social Responsibility in Teaching and Learning — What Works?

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the University of Pretoria have been co-hosting a three-week University Social Responsibility Network (USRN) Webinar Series in March – April 2022 to discuss university social responsibility in teaching and learning. The first session of the Webinar Series themed, “Civic Learning through a Service-Learning Requirement: Does It Work?”, was held on 21 March 2022, and attracted more than 140 participants from 18 countries/ regions. This informative and engaging webinar session was facilitated by Prof. Daniel T. L. Shek, Associate Vice President (Undergraduate Programme), and presented by Dr Grace Ngai, Head, Service-Learning and Leadership Office and Dr Stephen C.F. Chan, Consultant and former Head, Service-Learning and Leadership Office of PolyU. Dr Ngai and Dr Chan shared their valuable experience in implementing Service-Learning at PolyU over the past ten years. Participants responded very positively, and there were many contributions to a very fruitful Q&A session. The USRN Webinar Series provides a virtual platform for USRN member institutions and other higher education institutes to regularly share good university social responsibility (USR) practices and impact stories. Through the Webinar Series, the USRN aims to advocate for broader social responsibility in higher education and expand the global USR movement. To view the recorded webinar session: https://www.usrnetwork.org/publication-resources/resources/webinar/

1 Apr, 2022

Global Engagement Office

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Nurturing talent for the energy industry to promote sustainable development along the Belt and Road

To support sustainable power development, PolyU once again collaborated with the State Grid Corporation of China, Hongkong Electric and Xi'an Jiaotong University to launch the new cohort of online “Belt and Road Advanced Professional Development Programme in Power and Energy”. Themed “Decarbonising the Smart Grid for Sustainable Living”, the programme ran from 19 October to 5 November 2021 and attracted 255 participants from 25 countries/regions. Sixty-four international researchers, primarily from PolyU’s Belt and Road university alliances and the University Social Responsibility Network signed up for the programme to learn about the latest industrial practices and research findings related to tackling climate change. Participants were from 18 universities in countries including Brazil, Brunei, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand.

9 Dec, 2021

Global Engagement Office

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Heritage management through the eyes of the young generation

To encourage heritage appreciation and preservation among the young, the Heritage Alliance of the New Silk Road (HANSR) organised an international video competition themed “Enjoyment of the historical heritage, the vision of the young generation”. Ka Wai CHUNG (Institute of Textiles and Clothing, year 3) and Wing Wei WU (School of Design, year 3) answered the call, and submitted a video using Hong Kong’s renovation of “1881 Heritage” as the backdrop, articulating their thoughts on heritage preservation and management in Hong Kong. Their video was selected as one of five winning videos, earning them a valuable chance to present their work at the International Conference “Heritage Management: musealisation or use”, organized by HANSR and the Politecnico di Milano on 10 November 2021. https://www.hansr.polimi.it/

9 Dec, 2021

Global Engagement Office

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ITC Alumni Networking Series

Hosted by Prof. Jintu Fan, Head and Chair Professor of ITC, the first ITC Alumni Networking Series was initiated on 30 September 2021. In light of the social distancing restrictions, the activity was organised in a hybrid live format in the ITC 4D Theatre and streamed on Zoom. Prof. Fan shared the news that a series of consultations on upgrading the Institute to a School is being conducted among staff and students, alumni and industrialists. "A new, independent school will provide a platform for ITC to more effectively achieve its vision of being the leading institution in education, research and partnership in the field of fashion textile and design. It will also make ITC more visible." Prof. Fan said. A webinar, "Fashion Technology Adaptions – Past, Present and Future of the Supply Chain", followed. Three alumni, Ms Idy Lee from UNIFi3D, Mr Kim Ho from Crystal International Group and Mr Roger Chan from Cobalt Fashion shared their views on various issues. These included: how modern fashion technologies are integrated in the current product and supply chain in HK/Greater China; what routes were followed in adapting these technologies in HK/Greater China; what role the design/product design sector is seen to play in fashion technology adoption; and what impacts and advancements are foreseen in the industry for the coming 5-10 years in HK/Greater China. The discussion was given by Dr Sarina Sun and Dr Tsai-chun Huang, both ITC Research Assistant Professors. Before the end of the activity, Dr Joanne Yip, Chairlady of the Partnership and Development Working Group, offered a facility tour to the alumni, who cherished the opportunity to reunite with their classmates and teachers!

7 Oct, 2021

Institute of Textiles and Clothing

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Co-creating virtual summer learning experience along the New Silk Road

To foster multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary learning experiences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) joined hands with the University Alliance of Silk Road (UASR) to organise the UASR Virtual Summer Courses 2021. The summer programmes comprised 97 online lectures, hosted by over 70 experts from UASR universities including Xi’an Jiaotong University and Politecnico di Milano, as well as other speakers from the Chinese Museums Association, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Tokyo and Tsinghua University. PolyU’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management contributed a MOOC programme themed “Innovation and Technology Management in Tourism & Hospitality” (10 lectures), while the Faculty of Humanity offered “Chinese Culture: Tradition, Transformation and Interaction” (15 lectures) to this virtual summer school, enriching Silk Road students’ cultural and tourism understanding. In addition, in August 2021, PolyU further collaborated with the Heritage Alliance of the New Silk Road (HANSAR) for the Heritage Summer Lecture Series. Dr Casey Schoenberger from PolyU’s Department of Chinese Culture hosted an online lecture on “Introduction to Kun Opera”, sharing classical Chinese performance arts.

31 Aug, 2021

Global Engagement Office

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PolyU Foundation holds appreciation receptions for its members

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Foundation (PolyU Foundation) held two appreciation receptions on 27 May and 10 June 2021 respectively to express gratitude to its new and elevated members in the categories of Honorary Life Chairman, Honorary Life President and Honorary Life Vice President. The tremendous contributions from members enable the University to forge ahead with its commitment to pursuing education and research excellence. Dr Katherine Ngan, Chairman of the PolyU Foundation, expressed her heartfelt thanks to the members for their long-standing support, particularly during the pandemic. She also introduced the newly launched Endowed Young Scholars Scheme and encouraged members’ support for the Scheme. The Scheme, supporting and nurturing distinguished young scholars at Associate Professor and Assistant Professor levels, is a partnership for excellence between the donor and the University aiming to drive innovations that bring positive and long-term changes to the world. Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, PolyU President, then updated members on PolyU’s latest developments in education and research. He expressed delight in sharing encouraging results from the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2020, in which PolyU received high ratings in various research areas. He also shared with members the news that one of the main themes of the 85th anniversary celebrations will be “Alumni Homecoming” and encouraged them to actively participate in the celebratory activities. As a token of gratitude, a Certificate of Appreciation and a specially designed souvenir were presented to members by Prof. Teng and Dr Ngan.

17 Jun, 2021

Alumni Affairs and Development Office

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France & Hong Kong Digital Design Day @POLYU Online Webinar

With the aim of examining and deepening the role of design and innovation in post-2020 society, clarifying relevant skills and trends in the design industry, and raising awareness of the training of excellence in Hong Kong and France, the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Campus France, and PolyU School of Design (SD) co-organised the first-ever “France & Hong Kong Digital Design Day @PolyU” on 23 March 2021. Prominent academic and industry representatives from Hong Kong and France exchanged professional insights and discussed key themes in Social Innovation and Interactive Media & Animation in plenary sessions moderated by Full Professor in UX Design & Design Intelligence at PolyU-SD Prof. Stephen J. Wang. Representatives from institutions including SD and the three leading French institutes of design, image and sound (3iS - International Institute of Image & Sound, L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique, and The Sustainable Design School) also introduced their programmes and study opportunities during the webinar. The webinar was introduced by Consul General of France Mr Alexandre Giorgini and PolyU-SD Dean Prof. Kun-Pyo Lee, and supported by PolyU Global Engagement Office and Hong Kong Design Centre. It attracted approximately 200 registrants from Hong Kong, France and different parts of the world, and over 500 views on Facebook live streaming. The dedicated Facebook Event Page has also reached more than 14,000 users.

1 Apr, 2021

Global Engagement Office

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‘What are universities good for?’ The University Social Responsibility Network (USRN) and the University of Pretoria successfully co-host the first digital International University Social Responsibility Summit

Universities have a mission to discover their own strengths in order to improve their contributions to society. This was the overarching sentiment at the three-day International University Social Responsibility (USR) Summit for 2021 that was virtually co-hosted by the University Social Responsibility Network (USRN) and the University of Pretoria. The summit is a biennial flagship event of the USRN, which was founded by PolyU in 2015 with the aim of bringing together thought leaders to exchange ideas, resources, and practices of varied scope and scale to steer global discussion and the development of USR in higher education. The broader conversations also covered topics such as the transformation of higher education institutions and innovation. The conference, which took place from 3 to 5 February 2021, provided more than 21 hours of earnest discussion, with contributions from more than 70 academics, students and practitioners from 27 institutions and 14 countries. Participants shared ideas on how social responsibility programmes and projects can be used in innovative and meaningful ways within the university community and the broader society within which the institutions operate. Dr Miranda Lou, Co-Chair of the University Social Responsibility Network Executive Committee and Executive Vice President of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Prof. Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria officiated at the launch of the Summit in the morning of 3 February (South Africa time). Dr Lou noted in her welcome address that the pandemic reminded us at this time of global crisis when the world is in crisis, people are vulnerable, and the educational model is under tremendous pressure, that we should reflect on the essence of university social responsibility. “Let us seize the opportunities amid the current crisis to further advocate for broader social responsibility in higher education; to find solutions to make our communities more just, inclusive, peaceful and sustainable; and to co-create a world we and the next generation deserve.” Dr Lou urged. Introducing the topic of the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the higher education sector, Prof. Angelina Yuen-Tsang, Hon. Professor in the Department of Applied Social Sciences and former Vice President (Student and Global Affairs) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, spoke on the theme ‘The transformative power of higher education in fostering global connectedness and solidarity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic’ in her keynote address. “Every time there is a crisis, there is opportunity. I believe that it was Winston Churchill who, after World War Two, said: ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’. I also like the statement by former statesman Nelson Mandela, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’. I see the pandemic as an opportunity, even though it has caused great destruction in our world, to our families, communities and universities. I think we should look at it from a positive angle, and try to see how we can make use of this crisis as a way to transform the world and to change education,” Prof. Yuen-Tsang said. A massive open online course (MOOC) on “Introduction to University Social Responsibility” was also launched on the first day of the Summit and the teaching commenced on 17 February on the edX platform. This four-week MOOC was developed through the joint efforts of seven USRN member universities. The course explores the foundations of the new mission of social responsibility in higher education in matters of societal and community partnership. Prof. Toru Iiyoshi, the director of the Centre for the Promotion of Excellence in Higher Education at Kyoto University, said it was a big day for the USRN whose aims include providing fresh ideas about social responsibility in universities. “Our key message through the new MOOC is that university social responsibility should be adopted as a progressive management system for pursuing sustainability,” said Prof. Iiyoshi. The three-day Summit concluded on 5 February 2021. USR Summit 2021 Special Report on University World News: https://www.universityworldnews.com/special-report.php?publication=africa&report=USRSummit21

4 Mar, 2021

Global Engagement Office

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