DATE 2010/09/16 VISITORS 7344
Recent mainstream news has been filled with reports of juvenile disregard for authority. An elderly man catching public transport was beaten by a student when asking him to give up his seat; a high school student was shown guzzling down pieces of fried chicken on Taipei’s Metropolitan Rapid Transport system, on which eating and drinking is prohibited. These incidents have again steered public attention to one of society’s more irksome issues: the question of how to raise student’s character and their sense of social conscience.
Tamkang University has responded by implementing a brand new community-based initiative, the Tamkang Youth Service Program. Under the new program, freshman students will take part in compulsory youth service activities, with an estimated 5,800 first year students stepping out into the community each year, to lend a helping hand. The number of participants involved makes this the largest community service initiative in Taiwan. The scheme involves a series of community service classes, and practical hands-on service activities, in which students will learn the value of giving back to the community and caring for others, and become astute, aware citizens. At the same time, the community itself will benefit from the loving care of 5,000 plus pairs of hands.
At the Danshui Sports Park on September 16, Tamkang University signed a formal agreement with the mayor of Danshui, Tsai Yeh-wei, heralding the start of their collaboration in the youth service initiative. Tamkang Dean of Student Affairs, Ke Zhi-en, noted that by signing an official agreement with the Danshui Township Office, Tamkang University’s community service program – which aims to foster moral character in students and the general community through compulsory hands-on service activities – is officially underway.
Tamkang University’s school theme for 2010 is “Reaching out to the community for a better tomorrow”. The community service initiative will require students to clean local community facilities and upkeep the Danshui Sports Park on a long term basis. Students will also assist in the preparation of cultural activities for the Danshui International Environmental Arts Festival. Moreover, aside from the formal collaboration with the Danshui Township Office, Tamkang has also called on local associations, elementary schools, and various local welfare institutions to provide resources and help facilitate the youth service program. By participating in the program, students will get a more in-depth understanding of local Danshui culture, gain new experiences, develop their sense of responsibility, glean the importance of philanthropy, of giving back to the community, and the virtue of mutual cooperation. At the same time, the initiative will expand Tamkang’s interaction with the local community, and represents a productive use of Tamkang’s resources for the good of the community.