Student residents kick off empowerment project

Karen Lai


More than 140 hall residents, a mix of local and non-local undergraduate students, joined the City-Youth Empowerment Project to give regular voluntary services to needy groups in the community.


A kick-off ceremony, held at the Multi-function Hall of the Student Residence on 5 October, attracted an overwhelming response from staff and students, reinforcing the caring culture and strong sense of social commitment at the University.


“The project aims to create a process of empowerment, through which youthful CityU students can empower themselves by volunteering to help different groups

in need,” said Dr Elaine Au, Director of Youth Studies Net (YSNet) and Residence Master of Jockey Club Humanity Hall.



“We are very excited to have support from residents of all six Halls. Initially we are targeting needy children and hope participants will develop self-reflective awareness and a long-term commitment to society,” she said.


Guest of honour Dr Choi Yuen-wan, Chairman of the Commission on Youth, gave an inspiring speech on youth empowerment and youth volunteerism at the opening ceremony.

He discussed how he moved from the medical profession to the voluntary sector and encouraged participants to devote their passion to serving the community.


“You are a privileged group with many caring teachers and access to many learning resources. I hope, through this project, you will be empowered to share your enthusiasm with one another, reaffirm your identity as global citizens and take action to help the needy,” Dr Choi said.  


The project is Hall-based. Current undergraduate residents, including overseas and mainland students at CityU, are eligible to join. To encourage participants to develop long-term services, participants completing 108 hours or more of voluntary service within two semesters will receive an honorarium. The project requires each Hall to form a Hall Empowerment Team with 20 to 25 City-Youths to provide services to one identified target group for two semesters. “The project is also aimed at helping mainland and overseas students get a sense of belonging to the local community,” Dr Au said.


Voluntary services will be provided to children with long-term illness, deprived families, ethnic minority groups, and children with learning difficulties. One of the services, the “Uncle Long Leg Letterbox”, encourages children from economically-deprived families to write to volunteers about their personal feelings and the difficulties they encounter everyday. Students can also teach language courses to immigrants and minority groups. Training will be provided.


Student residents gave the thumbs up to the project. Many participants said volunteering was a long-cherished goal.


“We really want to serve the community. The project is well planned and organized. It provides strong motivation for us to give regular direct service and at the same time we can build better relations with our hall mates,” said marketing student Ms Wong Lai-man


“It’s a great opportunity to learn more about Hong Kong and have contact with people outside campus. It’s really a new experience for me,” said German exchange student Mr Ralf Gueldemeister.


“I heard that there are many social welfare organizations in Hong Kong. By joining the project, I really want to help needy people,” said Ms Lin Jing, a Foundation Year student from Fujian.


The City-Youth Empowerment Project is organized by the Office of Dean of Student Learning and YSNet of the Department of Applied Social Studies. YSNet is an inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary research network. It aims to foster a profound understanding of the psychological, social, cultural, technological and political issues confronting young people. Regular meetings will be held for the City-Youth Empowerment Project to help students reflect on the experience and prompt them to develop a positive attitude towards personal growth.






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