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Reading classics with WHU student volunteers
Author:Zhao Jianghan  Date:2022-04-20  Clicks:

On March 13, the WHU Classics Reading Project was officially launched by student volunteer groups from the WHU Library and the Hongyi Honor College. Relying on the expertise offered by Hongyi’s experimental humanities and interdisciplinary studies fields, the project recruited student reading volunteers who were interested in guiding peers in reading classics related to their various majors.

The classics were selected from the six fields of literature, history, philosophy, Chinese studies, sociology and law, all of which have a significant and profound impact on human civilization, culture and the spiritual world. The assigned classics include The Analects of Confucius Variorum, Dongpo Yuefu Notes, The Utopia, Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Case of the Speluncean Explorers and The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. The diversity represented by this classics selection manifests the interdisciplinary advantage of the Hongyi Honor College. “We selected these classics because they are both rich in content and deep in thought, and relatively easy to understand. This makes them intriguing to read,” said Shan Xinyao, one of the main organizers of the activity.


Some assigned classics included in the project

The effectiveness and impressiveness of this activity lie in its form of organization, applying a regulatory system that combines online and offline activities. For each reading circle, an online group is established, and every day the reading volunteer sends the electronic version of the reading text to the group. Participants complete their daily reading task and summarize the classics’ content in a shared online document. They also record their own interpretation and comprehension concerning what they have read. In order to ensure the effective process of personalized reading and group sharing, volunteers monitor the accomplishment of everyday tasks. In the concurrently running offline reading salons, groups discuss and debate themes and thoughts from the classics. Even though there is a deadline for the total reading time of each classic, participants can design their reading schedules according to their own reading pace and time arrangements. Thus, not only does this regulatory system enable participants and reading volunteers to make progress together, but it also grants more flexibility to each participant.


Exchange of thoughts and understandings related to the classics in the online group

“I am so glad to be a part of this meaningful activity,” said Xue Xiaolei who majors in PPE at the Hongyi Honor College and who is an active reader in this activity, “I have definitely enriched my knowledge in many fields, cultivated the habit of reading, and also gradually fostered the ability of critical thinking and effectively expressing ideas in my own words. I really feel as if I were talking with the great minds.” In her shared document, she wrote: “On the issue of choice when deviations between the spirit of the law and the written provisions arise, the inflexibility of the statutory law cannot be neglected. A person can violate the superficial provisions of the law but cannot break the law itself.” The inspiring reading activity clearly instilled many profound thoughts in her mind, stimulating the outburst of many inner, unique, and insightful ideas.

As one of the reading volunteers guiding the event, Li Yuting who majors in PLE also gained a lot: “This activity gave me access to a good book about law, in which I have a profound dialogue with nine justices about justice and morality. At the same time, it has also enhanced my organizational skills, and I’m so glad that I can be of help to my classmates in understanding the content of this book more profoundly.”

With the encouragement and support from both participants and reading volunteers, this classics reading activity related to various majors has proved to be a great success. In fact, this valuable activity has the potential to instill a positive desire for active reading in the entire WHU community, cultivating the love of classics in everyone’s heart.

Photo by Hongyi Honor College

Edited by Li Hefeng, Qin Zehao, Cheng Shiwen, Zou Xiaohan


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