The number of Covid-19 cases has been rising recently, and epidemic prevention and control measures have reached a critical stage. Peking University strictly carried out related policies and regulations, and all teachers and students at the University made concerted efforts to fight against the epidemic.
The YCA teachers and students residing on campus and outside the University have efficiently fulfilled their tasks in curbing the spread of the coronavirus. They have been active in volunteer service, contributing to epidemic prevention and control in their own ways.
Full reassurance from the YCA leadership
Yenching Academy Dean Dong Qiang was on duty throughout the May Day holiday, overseeing the Academy’s epidemic prevention and control measures. Professor Dong and other YCA leadership team members, including Associate Dean Fan Shiming, Director of Graduate Studies Lu Yang, and Assistant Dean Chen Changwei, lived on campus, owing to the University’s temporary lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19. They had regular meetings on epidemic prevention and control, and the Academy’s routine academic and student affairs. Also, this proximity made it easier for our resident students to reach the YCA leaders whenever they had study-related concerns.
On May 3, the YCA leaders met our on-campus Scholars at the Jingyuan Courtyard 3 to discuss issues concerning epidemic prevention and control, supplies of daily necessities, and studies and employment opportunities. The YCA leadership team members were committed to supporting the Scholars: they ensured students who needed medical advice received necessary professional help, distributed epidemic prevention materials to students, and offered academic advice to guide their learning. In all, our resident students were fully reassured by the presence of the YCA leadership.
Spearheading the epidemic prevention and control measures
On May 8, the Academy established a students’ epidemic prevention and control team, following the University’s instructions. The team served as a bridge between YCA staff and students. They informed students about the University’s and Academy’s measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 and ensured every resident student did the nucleic acid test. Meanwhile, the team relayed students’ concerns, questions, and opinions to the Academy.
Wang Linlin from the 2020 Cohort worked on the epidemic prevention and control team, and as the vanguard’s leader. She stated, “I’m honored to work for the Academy, and my fellow students in this crisis period. I hope that the epidemic ends as soon as possible.”
Zeng Jiru from the 2021 Cohort decidedly devoted himself to epidemic prevention and control: “I’m honored to work with the vanguard and play a role in the campus community governance. I’ve tried my best to serve the community in epidemic prevention and control – that is what I can do for the community and University.” Likewise, Zeng Jiru has been actively involved in the University’s events and service, coupled with his volunteer work at the Academy.
The full support from the loving and caring YCA staff
Teachers from the Student Affairs Office relentlessly assisted our students regardless of the difficulties posed by the outbreak. Caring and patient as they are, the staff members considered every detail of the students’ needs and contributed to epidemic prevention and control.
Staff members from the Student Affairs Office arranged with the Peking University hospital to provide Chinese herbal medicine for a Scholar who needed them due to a chronic illness. Another student had to apply for a visa owing to an emergency. The Office communicated with the immigration authority and embassy of the destination country, and supported the student throughout the visa application process under the University’s regulations. Also, YCA staff, including Fan Shiming, Chen Changwei, Zuo Jing, Dang Ke, Huang Xuesong, and Yang Jingru, facilitated the process and accompanied several students who needed medical attention and advice at the University’s hospital. Our teachers care about every student at the Academy.
May, the month of graduation, is always a busy time. Teachers from the Student Affairs Office worked hard to support Scholars with the graduation formalities, employment prospects, further studies, and other changing roles.
Ms. Huang Xuesong, Deputy Head of Student Affairs, is responsible for employment issues. She could not work from the office because of the University’s strict access control. She shared her thoughts about her experience: “I could help the students online from my home. I’m grateful for Prof. Fan and my colleagues from the property sector; they helped me a lot with the office work. I can feel the pressure from the community-level epidemic prevention and control measures. But I always follow what our students need for employment, and I can be reached online whenever they need me.”
Ms. Huang also gave instructions and advice to our first-year Scholars on internship and employment prospects, such as how to sit in a written exam and interview, where to find job information, and how to make oneself adapt to job-hunting and post-graduation life. She encouraged the students to have broader perspectives and develop several strategies for finding a job that suits their interests and skills.
YCA Class Advisors had one-to-one talks with the students to relieve anxiety among students. In addition to her work at the League branch and as the senior residential affairs manager, Ms. An Qi served as the Class Advisor for two classes. “We had so much to do these last two years – we have had to deal with all sorts of concerns regarding residency and students’ luggage. Working with students requires attention to detail, and my colleagues and I have spared no effort; we are the best support for each other. I feel strong support from our students and more at ease with my work.”
The expression of warmth and love wrapped in gift bags
The University recommends take-away from the canteen to prevent any possible cross-transmission of the virus. The Academy’s administration and property unit prepared food and other daily necessities for our resident students to ease inconveniences to their residential life on campus.
Ms. Lu Chenyuan, Head of Administration, was impressed with the Academy’s efforts: “We were fully prepared and remained calm, which enabled us to respond with quick and concerted efforts.” The Administration Office provided teachers and students with a “dinnerware set” composed of lunch boxes, tableware, scouring pads, and dish soap. These items, along with N95 masks and food items like milk and bread, were placed in gift bags pasted with a sticker of caring and sent to our students. The property staff lent a hand in preparing the gift bags.
Wang Miaoyi, Property Manager, highlighted that the property unit would work closely with the Academy for epidemic prevention and control as the situation in Haidian district became severe. From May 14 onwards, the property staff prepared, transported, and distributed ten batches of epidemic prevention materials. The property unit also helped organize and transport twelve batches of daily necessities and disinfected … every morning, noon, and evening. Wang said, “We must collaborate to fight against the pandemic; we are looking forward to a reunion at Jingyuan.”
Teachers and students in volunteer service
The YCA Scholars and teachers have been active in volunteer service in their spare time, working for epidemic prevention and control.
Zuo Jing, Dang Ke, and Huang Xuesong worked in disinfection, onsite administration, and QR code scanning at the test sites organized by the Student Affairs Office. Li Na joined the PKU Faculty Volunteer Service and worked for on-campus COVID-19 antigen diagnostic tests. Also, Dang Ke managed QR scanning and onsite administration at the nucleic acid test stations at the No.1 Stadium and northern square of Khoo Teck Puat Gymnasium on April 28 and May 5. She shared her thoughts: “I cherish this experience contributing to epidemic prevention and control, and I think of it all the time. When I have the blue protective suit on and serve teachers and students on a new post, I see the campus and people from a new perspective.”
Similarly, Li Shui volunteered to conduct nucleic acid tests in her community. Li Shui said, “I was in charge of scanning ID cards and tube codes. It was like a production-line operation. It was steaming hot in the protective suit under the sunshine. Volunteers worked by turns, but medical and community personnel worked much longer than we did. It’s tough work, and I respect their efforts and resilience.”
Three of our YCA Scholars began their volunteer service on May 23, among the first student volunteers at the University. Dai Zhiyi from the 2020 Cohort was one of the three and volunteered at the Nongyuan Canteen. Here is what she had to say about her experience: “I know firsthand how labor-consuming rear service is when I was working with the rear-service personnel. I felt jelly-legged after standing on duty for only two and half hours. However, that is routine work for rear-service personnel, who work much longer daily. I think they deserve our respect, gratitude, and understanding, particularly during these hard times.”
Joining volunteer service early, Yu Haochen from the 2021 Cohort helped with garbage sorting at the dormitory and disinfection at nucleic acid test stations. He described his experience: “It’s a critical time for epidemic prevention and control, and I hoped for an opportunity to contribute. I applied when I saw the volunteer enrollment notice. Medical workers’ protective suits are much heavier than volunteers. It is steaming hot in those suits, and medical workers must work under tremendous pressure. I am grateful for their efforts in epidemic prevention and control.”
It grows hotter day by day in May. Yenching Scholars and our teachers are working hard on their academic and routine work and devoting themselves to epidemic prevention and control. As a family, we are together and work in concert, safeguarding our home against the epidemic