“Ah Wo… Ho Hai Yan… Let’s learn together at Tzu Chi University…”
Tzu Chi University celebrated its 27th birthday and sponsored sports activities. Members of the Indigenous Club led participants to sing the school song with Amis lyrics, which echoed on the sports field. Tzu Chi Foundation founded the University in 1994. In the first year, there were only 130 students, now the student population is 3,348, and international students come from 26 countries. The opening ceremony showcased the University’s internationalization, localization, and multiculturalism.
The weather was comfortable. College deans and department chairs led their faculty members, staff, and students to pass through the outdoor stage, as did the administrative offices’ supervisors. Each unit had its way of greeting the University for its birthday. “We Happy to Celebrate Your 27th Birthday!” and “Happy Birthday Tzu Chi University!” were some of those greetings. Dean of the International College Guang-Huey Lin, the College’s faculty members, and staff formed a cheerleading team to cheer for the athletes. The Department of Social Work’s members added orange colors to the games, and dads and moms of the Tzu-Cheng & Yi-Te Association brought Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines with them. While we had fun, many epidemic prevention staff worked to protect our well-being.
University President Ingrid Liu expressed her gratitude to the participants. She said that the University started with three departments and an institute in 1994, and now we have four colleges. She praised each university president’s endeavors, since its inception, and the joint efforts of faculty members, staff, and students. President Liu wished that everyone will work together for a brighter future. She anticipated that everyone would cheer for the winners, encourage the laggards, and move forward with sportsmanship.
This year’s flag was different from the usual kind. Students with outstanding athletic performance marched at the front of the crowd. Two staff members, Xiu-Man Li of the woman’s badminton team and Zhi-Jie Xu of the men’s basketball team, also stood in front. They had performed very well in this year’s national college sports competition. Zi-Shan Huang of the Department of Medicine and Yong-Jie Zhong Wei of the Department of Physical Therapy led the athletes to take an oath, wishing that all of us will keep exercising and win awards for the University.
Our indigenous students come from eleven tribes, namely the Ami, Taroko, Bunun, Paiwan, etc. In addition to leading everyone to sing the school song, they also presented the Bunun tribe’s Beautiful Dawn and the Amis tribe’s Farcalay and invited everyone to join them in dancing. Hot Dance Club members presented a dance performance. In addition, Tzu Chi Collegiate Association students promoted bone marrow donations.
The day’s competition started with the faculty members and staffs’ eleven-legged race, which tested each team’s teamwork. Students’ finals in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, and team relays came next.
The most eye-catching race was the 5,000-meter run. Meeran is from India and a doctoral student in the Institute of Medical Sciences. He completed the race in 18’51”, breaking the 19’20” set by Zi-Ming Yang in 2017. Meeran said that the air quality in Hualien is good, and running in Hualien is comfortable. He trains every day and wished to win the race. An indigenous student was first in the long jump and second in the 1500-meter run. He mentioned that exercise helps him to relax.
Shin-Wei Huang is 72 years old. He participated in the competition with his classmates of the Senior Citizens Class and opined that having a good time with friends was far more important than results. Xue-Zi Zhou is a freshman in Social Work, who had never participated in any sports competition due to her cerebral palsy. On this day, with the assistance of the faculty members and classmates, she carried the torch with the help of a Social Work senior, Yi-Feng Ding. Xue-Zi said: “I am so happy! Today is my first time participating in a sports competition, and I am eager to join in the games.”
There were competitions, laughter, sweat, and tears. Outside the sports field, there was a stand promoting bone marrow donations, organized by Tzu Chi Collegiate Association, with 137 student volunteers participating. The University celebrated its 27th birthday with vigor, enthusiasm, and compassion.