In face of fast-changing political, economic, social and environmental landscapes, universities are nowadays taking on roles and responsibilities that extend far beyond traditional teaching and research. We need to nurture a global mindset, a serving heart and the capability to deal with various socio-economic issues in more constructive ways among the rising generation. We need to ensure our cutting-edge research can help identify and address issues that affect the well-being of individuals, communities, nations and global society.

We no longer exist in a vacuum of academic endeavour, but are obliged to be socially involved, relevant and responsible. In 2012, when all universities in Hong Kong changed from a 3-year to a 4-year undergraduate education system, PolyU redesigned its curriculum with a view to graduating young people who are capable of succeeding in their chosen profession and who are also ready to serve the global society. One distinctive feature of our new curriculum is the compulsory and credit-bearing Service-Learning Programme, requiring all undergraduate students to connect their professional education with societal needs and actively serve the community.

In 2015, PolyU set up a Social Responsibility Steering Committee – with the key objectives of fostering a culture of social responsibility within the university community and encouraging a commitment to social responsibility in the planning and development of education, research, knowledge transfer and other activity.

Additionally, we reach out beyond PolyU. We collaborate with like-minded universities through the newly-formed University Social Responsibility Network. Apart from sharing best practices, all universities in the network will leverage each other’s strengths to help foster University Social Responsibility on a global scale. We welcome other higher education institutions who share our vision to join hands with us.

Together we can make the world more just, inclusive, peaceful and sustainable.

Together we can make the world a better place to live for each and every of its citizens.

Together we can, and together we will.

Timothy W. Tong, Ph.D.