Staff Volunteering Contributing to the Community

HKUST staff are full of talents and passion. We believe that not only contributing to educate our new generation, our skills and experiences could benefit to the community through the volunteering services.

In November 2022, our University released new guidelines to allow staff to apply up to two working days of special leave (increasing to four days next year) each calendar year for participating in a volunteering service in Hong Kong that are organized or recognized by the University with approval of department head. Recognized volunteering services are listed on Partners of HKUST Connect and Social Career.

After completing the services, staff are invited to fill in a simple survey to share their volunteering experiences and other feedback. In the HKUST 2028 Sustainability Challenge, well-being of campus community members is one of the goals that target to implement improvement initiatives focusing on stress reduction and community enjoyment. We believe that the volunteering services could also benefit to the personal development of the staff.

The Global Engagement & Greater China Affairs Team and the Sustainability/Net-Zero Office colleagues took the special leave to volunteer in Food Angel by Bo Charity Foundation in December and January respectively. The Sustainability/Net-Zero Office team helped at the central kitchen in Chai Wan to prepare meal boxes packing. Global Engagement & Greater China Affairs Team shared with us, “The session began with an introduction to food waste and poverty issues in Hong Kong, followed by team members taking turns helping at the food stations by processing the collected vegetables before they were sent to the central kitchen. Taking part in the event was both a valuable volunteering experience as well as a meaningful team-building activity. It was a pleasure to make positive contribution to the community together as a team. We hope to do it again in near future to strengthen the bonding among us as well as sharing love through serving others in society.”

Matthew Chik from EMIA has volunteered to bring a group of kids to the beach cleaning program and picked up more than 40kg of rubbish in just a morning, organized by the Greeners last December. “What I learnt from this activity was the rubbish left on the beach might not be necessary from those who went to the beach before. They might come from households such as the used toothbrushes, batteries and balloons used in parties that were thrown into the sea and brought by the waves. Nearly 70% of the rubbish we collected were plastics such as plastic bottles, eating utensils etc. The most effective way to reduce them is to avoid using them. Actually I do volunteering on a regular basis as the leader of a uniform group. Hence I think the staff volunteering program can encourage me to participate in more activities during the summer or winter break.”

Another colleague Kasina Wong has spent her time working with children spreading positive vibes and message through the community work. She was teaching kids biblical knowledge and making cookies with them. “As a university teacher, I aspire to work with children. They are a great source of fun and inspiration. The kids were given the space and time to exercise their creativity to the fullest extent (I did not provide them with any samples). I only gave them the necessary tools, and the cookies they made came in different shapes and sizes. Some of them even assembled different cookie doughs to make multi-flavor cookies. That got me thinking how far we could do the same for university education. Given the fast teaching and learning pace, students are expected to produce high-quality work with very limited time. Referring to samples is a common practice in students' learning.” Kasina volunteers on a regular basis. Through the new staff volunteering program, she is happy to see that she could share the same vision as the university - to give back to the community to the best of our abilities, and it is acknowledged by the offer of special leave.


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