Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Society

Tsinghua students set up workstations in rural areas

By ZHAO YIMENG | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-13 09:41
Share - WeChat
Students participating in the rural vitalization program initiated by Tsinghua University's School of Architecture discuss project details at a workstation in Jining, Shandong province, during the summer vacation this year. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A rural vitalization program launched by Tsinghua University finished modifying vacant rural houses with a total area of 25,000 square meters into workstations in June, providing services for more than 100,000 villagers.

The university's School of Architecture initiated the program at the end of 2017, aiming to establish the workstations nationwide to aid poverty alleviation efforts by dispatching college students to provide volunteer services.

Zhang Hong, deputy Party secretary of the school and head of the project, said it was inspired by an aging, hollowed-out village in Yunnan province that had many abandoned structures.

"We realized that the traditional social services model in rural areas needed to be changed," Zhang told China News Service.

The project was initially established to introduce more young talent to villages while making use of vacant rural homes, he said. It serves as a public service platform supported by Tsinghua students and alumni. A similar project in the Wendeng district of Weihai, a city in Shandong province, is being led by a doctoral candidate at the School of Architecture.

"We organize large numbers of college students to conduct social services in rural areas during summer and winter vacations," Zhang said, adding that the workstations have enlisted 70 teams consisting of 1,000 members to work during their winter school breaks.

About 40 percent are experienced members who lead teams to the same places each year and are familiar enough with the areas to provide effective services.

The teams also take on tasks during the semester, such as exploring and improving intangible cultural heritage, renovating villagers' homestays and undertaking projects to improve rural environments.

Twenty-five stations have been set up in 15 provincial-level areas, and more than 100 areas have applied to build one. Eight of the workstations have been built as part of the diploma projects of the school's undergraduate students.

Students either stay in touch with the workstation projects remotely or visit the stations on weekends to promote their development, Zhang said.

"Rural vitalization in the future is a protracted war in which villages are the major battlefields. So, our most urgent task is to take root in countrysides and keep engaging in the process of rural development," he said. "The stations will continue to track the development of villages until they realize agricultural modernization."

He added that the total number of stations is expected to reach 50, covering regions with different cultures and climates.

Apart from attracting talent for rural vitalization efforts, the workstations also benefit students from Tsinghua.

The project has been closely connected to the School of Architecture's curriculum, while a new major for postgraduate students-rural vitalization-has been established.

Students enrolled in the new major will begin their study in September.

"They will spend at least one year at the workstations, taking part in construction in rural areas. They are expected to choose the topic of their research and conduct it based on the real needs in villages," Zhang said.

The major will be extended to other schools if it is successful, he added.

"We have now registered eight startups on the workstation platform, which provide local employment and attract more young people to return to their hometowns for development," he said.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349