November 14th, it was just a usual autumn day in Wuhan--the sky was smoggy with heavy clouds; piles of fallen leaves scattered everywhere. But for Wuhan University, it was also a special day--around 30 international students gathered in the Meiyuan Playground, helping to clean up the cam-pus. This clean-up campaign, organized by the Wuhan International Students’ Union (WISU), was one of the activities held during the International Cultural Festival.
International Students cleaning on the Olympic Track Field
Not discouraged by the cloudy weather at all, these student volunteers cheerfully started their work. Divided into respective groups, they took charge of different areas on campus including the Olym-pic Track Field, the “Slope of Valentines”, the Ziqiang Avenue and, of course, the woods nearby. Some of them were sweeping and clearing up the leaves hidden in the lawn, while others were cleaning the area around the statue of Li Da, one of the great presidents of WHU. As for down and dirty work such as clearing out mud from the gutters, they also helped without any complaints. Fi-nally, through their joint efforts with the cleaning staff on campus, Meiyuan looked much prettier than before, fitting of its name (“Mei” in Chinese means beautiful).
According to Guo Li, the teacher in charge, the goal of this activity is to give international students a sense of belonging and responsibility, urging them to reconsider the value of work. Freddie, the executive president of WISU, told the journalist that this volunteer campaign could show the public that the international students are repaying the school in their own way. Apart from the cleaning campaign, participating in more community work events such as the blood drive is also under con-sideration. All in all, Freddie hoped to better illustrate the influence WISU can bring about on stu-dents’ campus lives.
Indeed, as a unique group of WHUers, the international students are increasingly making their own contributions to the university. The 30 participants who mainly come from India, Vietnam and Uganda are just representatives of the 3000 international students on campus. Maruf, a student from Afghanistan, said that he really enjoyed the process of helping others by cleaning up the campus. He also expressed his appreciation to the regular cleaning staff on campus, for they have always been doing their job perfectly. Rugare, from Zimbabwe, also had his own understanding. “Few students are familiar with us overseas students. We are a bunch of people with enthusiasm and solicitude for others. If condition permits, we would like to do something more for our university.”
WISU has always been dedicated to assisting international students to better adapt to and fulfill their college life in Wuhan. It has hosted many meaningful events thus far, including freshman ori-entations, sports games and debate competitions in Chinese. As for the future plan, it is planning to host bigger events, becoming more active in the university. There are also several upcoming on-campus events that they are organizing or co-organizing during the WHU International Cultural Month. At that time, students coming from over 85 countries will set up stalls or give performances on stage to showcase their own culture. In additional, there is also an International Camp lasting for 7 days. Next month, WISU will hold a Language and Culture Exchange Program for students who speak different languages to communicate with each other.
The clean-up campaign is a good beginning, with its meaning extending far beyond the activity it-self. The kindness and helpfulness of the international students have delivered a positive message not only among themselves, but also toward every member of the WHU family.
The group photo of the participants
(Edited by Fang Siyuan, Wu Siying, Edmund Wai Man Lai & Hu Sijia)