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[120th Anniversary] PKU Loving Heart Society: Fragrance Always Stays in the Hand that Gives the Rose

APR . 27 2018
Peking University, April 20, 2018: Established in 1993, Loving Heart Society of Peking University is the first community service student association set up in PKU as well as in China. This year, as PKU’s 120th anniversary draws in, Loving Heart Society will also usher in its 25th birthday.

Throughout the past 25 years, Loving Heart Society has grown from an association consisting of 17 members into a full-fledged community service organization with thousands of students participating in voluntary work both on campus and in society. With various reputable activities such as the Love Heart Travelling program, Loving Heart Society had gained its place in the list of PKU’s top ten student associations and also earned much public attention.

In Guangxi

An association & a family

At present, Loving Heart Society has four practical departments, three executive departments, Sign Language Section and other sectors performing various duties. With hundreds of students joining in every year, the association is one of the biggest and the most active student associations at PKU. Here, the members keep closely united.

Zhang Dongjie, head of Loving Heart Society, said that the association feels like home. He recalled the “Letters Home” event organized by the association on 2015 Chung Yeung Festival. “We gathered at the Triangle and called for passers-by to write letters to their families at home. It was already late autumn and we were shivering with cold.” However, the group of students brought together by the same purpose impressed him greatly. The gathering was not about money but about the shared belief to bring warmth to others. Though the weather was rather harsh, he felt warmth among “lovehearters”—the name shared by every member of Loving Heart Society.

Lovehearters’ strengths & uniqueness

According to Zhang, what makes Loving Heart Society stand out from numerous volunteer organizations is the discipline and spirit which are passed down from their predecessors and will be handed to their successors.

Teaching in Golmud, Qinghai Province

The spirit of dedication is one of the important factors that make Loving Heart Society unique. The 2016 Love Heart Travelling program, Zhang introduced, illustrated the point. 14 lovehearters travelled to Golmud, Qinghai Province during the summer vacation in order to support education there. Since Golmud is elevated around 3000 meters above sea level, acute mountain sickness began to appear among the students. Liu Beining, one of the volunteer teachers, insisted on finishing her dancing class even though her altitude sickness hadn’t subsided completely. The rest of the group learned this from the class log where the children wrote about her blushing face when the class was over. “Our pupils told us that ‘Ms. Liu Beining is really awesome,’” Zhang said, “we are proud of her devotion and perseverance.”

Another reason for lovehearters’ success is their prudence in organizing activities. “Our association has its special modus operandi,” Zhang said. Take the Love Heart Travelling program for example. During the preparation period, the association would select one volunteer out of two applicants. Before departure, the selected students would spend a fortnight in preparing the lessons. After the aid-education project begins, the volunteers would audit the classes of each other, discuss their problems and make prompt corrections. “We set high demands on our volunteers so as to ensure the quality of the volunteer work. The Rigorous organization makes our work effective.”

Inheritance & innovation

Predecessors of Loving Heart Society have left a series of excellent programs, all with a history of more than five years. Zhang Dongjie pointed out that it is essentially important to make an investigation in advance. “We gained much experience in those programs and what we need to do about them next is to make them better and better.” Zhang told us that from this year on, lovehearters will send volunteers of the Love Heart Travelling program to make field survey during the winter vacation. Though the investigation beforehand costs a lot of money and effort, Zhang takes it as worthwhile, for field survey surpasses online contact in helping the volunteers understand the local conditions. “We need to make sure that the program is carried out smoothly.”

Helping the elder in Weixiu Garden Community

As time goes by, Loving Heart Society has also taken measures to adapt to the new circumstances. A number of new projects such as teaching the elder to use WeChat have been set up, and some others are cancelled due to various reasons. Though many creative ideas may pop up, the association remains cautious about innovation. “We would estimate the needs of the potential beneficiaries first, and then consider whether it is practicable for us to put the idea into practice.” For Loving Heart Society, the quality of their activities is always put in the first place. “We want to build a platform where students dedicated to the well-being of others could really find their opportunities to make a difference and find a sense of belonging.”

Community service & self-improvement

While the association lays strong emphasis on helping others, Zhang Dongjie described it as an “egoistic association”. For lovehearters, helping others is an active conduct which could help the benefactors gain much knowledge. Zhang takes the popularity of the Sign Language Section to illustrate this idea: “When communicating with the disabled, we are also learning a new language.” In this sense, volunteer work is beneficial for both the giver and the receiver. “In the future, we will make the win-win strategy our basic principle,” Zhang noted.

Apart from practical benefits, Zhang also regards volunteer work as a means of self-fulfilling. “The approval of others makes one realize his or her shining points, and I find it really exhilarating.”

Reported by: Zhou Yijing

Edited by: Yan Shengnan