Where kindness spreads

“UrHeard”: Let your thoughts be heard

Four years ago this month, Justin Wong, a nursing student, set foot on the CUHK campus for the first time. Four years later, the once excited but anxious and perhaps slightly timid boy is now a senior at CUHK who is living his university life to the fullest. He is a learning enhancement ambassador in the GLEAM (a Group of Learning Enhancement AMbassadors) programme and a peer listener for the UrHeard mobile app. “By sharing personal experiences and interesting encounters, I hope to guide freshmen as they adapt to the new environment,” says Justin. “Helping CUHK juniors and leading group activities always gives me a sense of satisfaction. Apart from learning soft skills and expanding connections, I’ve learned to balance academics and extra-curricular activities. My communication and time management skills have also improved a lot.”

Connecting freshmen and GLEAM ambassadors

CUHK welcomes many new faces to its campus every September. To support freshmens’ adaptation to university life, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) launched the GLEAM programme in 2020-21. The programme includes an array of interactive activities such as senior sharing sessions, providing an accessible platform for students who share similar interests and values to exchange learning experiences. Justin recalls having a difficult time fitting into the unfamiliar campus environment during his first year at CUHK. “This is why I would like to guide and support freshmen by sharing my personal experiences and insights. Although the University provides comprehensive information on course enrolment and student societies, I believe it is crucial to get more advice from seniors who have been down this road before.” By participating in the GLEAM programme, freshmen can acquire relevant information on specific courses and activities, and get themselves ready for a brand new start. Between 2020 and 2022, the programme benefited more than 500 new students, with some of them training to become ambassadors and serving a new batch of freshmen.

One click away

Ever since the pandemic began, staff and students have been forced to get used to the new normal. As tertiary institutions have revised their modes of teaching, the environment is becoming even more unfamiliar to new students. To ensure sufficient support is given to CUHK students, the OSA launched the UrHeard mobile app. With new functions and service enhancement, the app serves as an accessible platform for students to support, interact and grow with each other. It caters to students of all years who want to seek advice from experienced peer listeners, who share experiences on study tips, university life planning, personal well-being and careers. “The UrHeard app is a convenient platform for all students, particularly newcomers, to gather useful information about CUHK. As a peer listener, I often provide guidance based on personal experiences. I also actively listen to my peers’ concerns about time management, goal setting and life planning,” says Justin. From the GLEAM programme to the UrHeard app, the mode of peer support has moved from physical to online. Students can choose their own peer listeners anywhere, at any time, and interact with each other using stickers designed by students.

Sharing love at CUHK

The strong sense of togetherness among all members of CUHK is one of the most fundamental values of the University. Apart from instilling knowledge in students, the University emphasises cultivating students’ temperaments, nurturing them into mature individuals who uphold high moral principles. Amid a busy schedule packed with revisions and practicums, Justin continues to serve his peers with passion and kindness. “We students play a vital role in developing a beautiful campus for teaching and learning. Participate actively in group activities, stay open-minded and positive, and step out of your comfort zone. This is how you live university life to the fullest,” says Justin.

By Gillian Cheng
Front image design by Amy Tam
Photo courtesy of Office of Student Affairs

 

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