CUHK Launches I‧CARE ProgrammePromoting Personal Development through Social and Civic Engagement for Students
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is committed to promoting students' holistic development through social and civic engagements in Hong Kong, mainland China and overseas countries. To help students develop a long-term interest and commitment to serve the local, regional and international communities by integrating their specialised knowledge with social and civic engagements in their life and future career, the University launches the I‧CARE Programme with an endowment fund of HK$100 million, with which the University hopes to contribute to sustainable personal growth, as well as the cultivation of true global villagers.
Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, said, 'As a comprehensive University, we strive to enhance the quality of education by offering diversified learning experience, both within and beyond the formal curriculum. We believe that, through serving society and the underprivileged groups in the world, students will have a deeper reflection on human values, become more sensitive to others' needs, and learn to appreciate cultures other than their own. The essence of the I‧CARE Programme is not to carry out mega projects with a few selected students, but to cultivate the humanistic spirit and enhance the social awareness of our students, bringing sustainable impacts to students and society.' He also expressed his deep appreciation of the kindness of prominent leaders in the environmental, social service and educational sectors who serve as advisors and give invaluable advice in the development of the I‧CARE Programme.
With the slogan 'Aspiration through reflection; Renewal through civility', the I‧CARE Programme is formulated on the basis of five elements of whole-person development, which the University aims to instil among its students:
- I = Integrity and Moral Development
- C = Creativity and Intellectual Development
- A = Appreciation of Life and Aesthetics Development
- R = Relationships and Social Development
- E = Energy and Wellness
The I‧CARE Programme adopts an integrated approach and supports a range of major categories of social and civic engagement programmes, including service projects and self-initiated action-research projects; internships in non-governmental organizations (NGOs); social enterprises and corporate social responsibility measures; university lectures on civility, seminars and forums; and enhancement of students' mental wellness.
The first University Lecture on Civility will be held on 4 October where Mr. Lin Hwai-Min（林懷民）, founder of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, will speak on 'Planting Flowers on the Cement' (在水泥地上種花). Mr. Lin's presentation will be followed by public forums to be given by eminent scholars and public figures including Leung Man-tao (梁文道), Chien Yeong-shyang (錢永祥), Qin Hui (秦暉) and Liang Xiao-yan (梁曉燕). They will give individual sessions this semester on topics like animal rights, social justice and basic education in contemporary China.
With the support of the I‧CARE Programme, students are encouraged to initiate and take part in sustainable service projects in places where such are needed, both locally and elsewhere, by working closely with governments and various community service organizations. They will be trained to understand various social problems, e.g. poverty, chronic diseases, family violence, before offering services. Students will also be encouraged to conduct action-research projects on specific social problems/phenomena and make viable suggestions.
Internship experience is always highly treasured by students who wish to broaden their horizons which in turn will be beneficial to their personal growth and career development. CUHK will extend its existing overseas internship programme to more developing countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Papua New Guinea and invite more NGOs such as Oxfam, Rotary Club and UNICEF, as well as District Offices in Hong Kong, to join its network.
By practising Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) while they are still at university, students will learn to be more environmentally sensitive and socially responsible. With this objective in mind, the University is formulating a set of sustainable and socially responsible guidelines and procedures on procurement, tendering and operation, as well as on the promotion of social enterprises on campus. In line with this objective, the University will also strengthen its Social Enterprise Startup Scheme to help put students' creative business ideas into meaningful social ventures, complemented with research and training on social enterprise management leveraging, based on the expertise of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at CUHK and other related institutions in Hong Kong.
The University will also reinforce its caring culture by further strengthening pastoral care and support for students through various schemes in order to promote their mental well-being and whole-person development.
Advisors to the Steering Committee for Promoting Personal Development through Social and Civic Engagement include Dr. Philemon Y.W. Choi, Honorary General Secretary, Breakthrough; Ms. Christine Fang, Chief Executive, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service; Mr. Ho Hei-wah, Director, Society for Community Organization; Dr. Lo Chi-kin, Council Chair, Oxfam Hong Kong; and Dr. Rosanna Y.M. Wong, Executive Director, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (please refer to the appendix for the full list). A comprehensive website is now in place for updates on the I‧CARE Programme. Please visit: www.cuhk.edu.hk/icare.
The Five Elements of I‧CARE
Integrity and Moral Development
To develop an awareness of civic responsibilities and social justice, so as to be better able to make moral judgment and value choices.
Creativity and Intellectual Development
To stimulate creativity and apply academic and professional knowledge to help the needy in a cost-effective and culturally acceptable way.
Appreciation of Life and Aesthetic Development
To discover the intrinsic beauty of humanity and appreciate life in different cultures and civilizations through comparison and reflection.
Relationships and Social Development
To enhance spirit of team work and sharpen interpersonal and communication skills through collective efforts in the service of community.
Energy and Wellness
To achieve a higher level of physical and spiritual wellness through synergy among teammates, local community and professional groups.