Through Our Door | Ke Dang: Head of Student Affairs of Yenching Academy

For Ms. Ke Dang, Jingyuan has changed from a “nodding acquaintance” in her school days to a “good friend” in work. After falling in love with the little-known atrium between Jingyuan courtyard 2 and 3, Jingyuan and herself became “besties” who knew each other’s secrets.

Q: When was your first visit to Jingyuan?

A: In my school years, I sometimes walked by Jingyuan and found from Jingyuan to Weiming Lake to be places with beautiful scenery as well as a strong vibe of relaxation and entertainment. Especially on the lawn, many would have their recreational activities and themselves could also be recreated in the process.

Q: Why did you use the word “fresh” to describe your first impression of Jingyuan? In the questionnaire, you used “fresh, youthful, and quiet.” Could you please tell us why Jingyuan gives you such an impression?

A: “Fresh” comes from the sense of nature. There are many plants in Jingyuan, making me feel fresh every morning at work. As for “quiet,” every time I enter Jingyuan, it’s like entering a parallel but independent world. Although the noises of people and vehicles can still be heard, Jingyuan could calm me down. It is thus a great place to study and work. The word “youthful” describes the memory of my school days. I always came to Jingyuan for morning reading and felt serene. Jingyuan’s lawn at night is a perfect event venue for the Bicycle Association which I joined in undergraduate years. We sang, chatted, and sent off old friends there together, all of which were lively memories of youth.

Q: What is your favorite season/time in Jingyuan?

A: I like wisteria. Wisteria flowers represent a special memory of the school days. Many of my fellow friends back then preferred the theme of wisteria when designing their weddings.

Q: What is the most memorable event from Jingyuan?

A: I would say the 2020 Yenching Academy online graduation ceremony in the atrium on the second floor of Jingyuan 3. Because of COVID-19, the graduation ceremony could not be held in Khoo Teck Puat Gymnasium or Erti. Despite the situation, Yenching Academy still strived to organize a graduation ceremony with a sense of ritual, both online and onsite. Setting the location in Jingyuan indeed made online students feel more “at home” in sharing this significant moment together.

Q: As a someone who has worked at Yenching Academy for more than 5 years, what kind of space do you hope Jingyuan provides for students?

A: When students get to know more about Jingyuan, I also hope they can get out and walk into the wider world of Yanyuan, the Peking University campus. It is just like what this exhibition is doing: from the perspective of time, it starts from the stories of Jingyuan, and seeks to explore the history and stories of Peking University.

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