On September 25, 2015, the three-day autumn recruitment by Peking University (PKU) student associations kicked off. By the end of the third day, 262 student associations covering political theory, academic innovation, culture and art, physical fitness, volunteer programs, cooperation and exchange, as well as regional culture had recruited hundreds of students for their respective clubs.
“The Great Campaign with One Hundred Regiments”
PKU is known for its academic achievements, as well as its spirit of democracy and freedom, and the blossoming of various student associations is one of the most telling reflections of this tradition. PKU has an established tradition of encouraging each student to develop his or her own interests. Therefore, more than 200 clubs have been established to satisfy students’ interests. Every year, PKU student associations hold a big recruitment ceremony in “the Triangle”. Due to the number of participating associations and the sheer number of students bustling to sign up for their favorite clubs, the PKU student associations’ recruitment is commonly called “The Great Campaign with One Hundred Regiments”, in reference to the famous historical battle against Japanese invasion.
At this time every year, crowds of students flow into the Triangle and are filled with excitement and curiosity, while the club members stand beside their booths and extend warm welcomes to all. The Triangle is full of laughter, music, and boisterous voices, as well as the bright colors of various posters. A freshman who went to the Triangle said excitedly, “Wow, the recruitment is spectacular!”
Various and Original Ways of Recruiting
Associations use various ways to attract more attention. Many students were attracted by the cosplay from the Original Fire Comic Club. The members, who wore colorful costumes depicting characters from Japanese anime, stood in front of their booth passing out their club’s leaflets. Similarly, the Jingwu Association had their members wear Taekwondo dobok to attract greater attention and publicity. Eye-catching costumes were not the only feature. The Hip Hop Society organized a dynamic hip-hop performance in front of the Nongyuan cafeteria, which attracted much attention and won enthusiastic applause. The Chinese Music Institute and other music associations offered their audiences fantastic performances. Impressed by the wonderful performance of the Drum Circle, some newcomers couldn’t help having a try at playing the drums! Another club, which couldn’t be missed, was the Marxist Association. Its members paraded along the street, waving flags and singing The Internationale in unison. Some students were touched by the emotion they displayed, reflecting their firm faith and unity. There were also some students who preferred the soft and melodious harmonies produced by the members of the Peking University Student Choir, who warmly invited students to join them.
Technologically, one of the main characteristics of this year’s recruitment was that most associations were not confined to in-person registration but also adopted online enrolment. A girl who was in charge of the recruitment of the Mountaineering Association said, “We had already put our recruitment advertisement and registration form on our official WeChat channel, microblog, and the PKU BBS. As more and more college students are using these social media forums, we think it would be more convenient for them to register online.”
As a Chinese saying goes; “Splendid stage performance requires ten years of hard training.” Members of some students’ associations spent several weeks preparing for this recruitment drive. Their posters were fascinating and well organized with colorful pictures and photos of their daily activities and eye-catching welcome slogans. “We started our preparation from the beginning of this semester. We designed posters, postcards, registration forms, and booklets for the newcomers, and then we contacted the printing shops to print them. Additionally, we bought some display racks and gifts. Key members are divided into several groups for preparation, and we take turns to come to the site. All of us are eager to meet more newcomers and to introduce our club to them,” one of the members of the Original Fire Comic Club said, “and as soon as I finished my class at the Health Science Center, I took the subway here to help.”
“Interest is my Motivation”
“I’m interested in kendo, so I’m going to join the Kendo Society,” Wang Hao, an international student told us. Like Wang Hao, most students join clubs out of interest. They want to find a platform to develop their interests and to make friends with people who share common goals and interests. But there are also many students who simply want to explore and try new things. Zheng Jiarui, a student from the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, hesitated about whether to join the PKU:OIR Student Press Corps before she came to the recruitment site. She was not confident that her English ability would satisfy the club’s entry requirements. However, in the end, she persuaded herself to join because she wanted to have a try and improve her English.
What’s more, some students regard the participation in student clubs as a social experience. The social activities of some clubs are attractive to many students. Ellie, a visiting scholar from England, told me that she had just arrived at PKU, and in order to become more familiar with the campus and to practice Chinese, she joined several associations which require a great deal of social interaction, such as the Peking University News and the Model United Nations Club. Ellie also joined the Tennis Association and Skiing Association so as to be able to exercise more and keep fit.
This semester’s recruitment of student associations has ended, but it is the beginning of more colorful activities to be held by different associations. We wish each student the very best, hope they accomplish their goals, further develop their interests, and continue to chase their dreams.
Written by Zhou Huiying
Source: PKU Newsletter (Autumn 2015)