The registration for the 2013 freshmen at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute kicked off at the New Gym on Sept. 7. This year, JI Students’ Union organized a Welcome Team to carry on the tradition of “Passing the Torch of Compassion.” On arrival, JI newcomers only needed to walk toward the two JI student volunteers in bright red T-shirts waving gigantic JI flags, and the Welcome Team would help them through the registration process.

Stop I: Five Stripes of Youth

Madame Ma giving a thumb up on JI’s students’ creativity

At the first registration stop, all the new students received a special JI badge that symbolizes the beginning of their JI life. The badge is one of the Welcome Team’s innovative highlights, a fun way to identify the newcomers: one stripe for men and two stripes for women. The badges facilitated the registration process and gave the newcomers a sense of belonging.

President Zhang Jie elated at receiving the badge

When Madam Ma Dexiu, Party Secretary of SJTU, passed by the JI reception station, she was presented a badge of “Freshman Commander.” Pleasantly surprised, she gave a thumbs up and said, “Great idea!” SJTU President Zhang Jie beamed at the stripes that students pinned on his shoulder. He joined the Welcome Team momentarily and boosted the students’ morale.

Stop II: Care-mobiles amid the Wind and Rain

2013 JI welcomes freshmen

A Care-mobile transport-ing luggage and guiding newcomers

 As rain fell at 6:30 a.m., JI’s fleet of four bike carts with signs reading “BMW JI Care-mobile” started delivering hot barley tea, brewed overnight in JI dorms, to the New Gym. Throughout the day, they shuttled between JI dorms and the gym, transporting the new students’ luggage and helping them settle in JI dorms – assistance deeply appreciated by the students as well as parents. 

Pedaling the heavy bikes in the rain was difficult, but the student drivers took it in stride, despite being drenched and feeling exhausted. One of them commented, “At this time last year, it was the upper classmates who helped me move in. I am so grateful. The only way to pay back is doing the same thing for the new students now.”

Stop III: Showing Gratitude

I wish to say…

A father recording his encouragement for his son

A camcorder was stationed at the check-in table of the JI dorms, recording passing parents’ blessings and students’ gratitude. “Dear son, it is a new beginning. I wish you progress and happiness,” said a mother.

A Taiwanese student said to his parents, “Please be assured that I will work hard at JI from now on.” The video clips had been edited into a documentary “Setting out at JI” and played before the Freshman Convocation on Sept. 8.

 Thank-you cards
After the parents helped their children settle into the dorms, it was time to say goodbye and for the students to start the new chapter in their lives. For this critical and difficult moment, JI Welcome Team prepared thank-you cards for students to write to their parents. Students wrote many heart-warming words, such as “Mom and Dad, I have grown up. I am so lucky to have you walking with me up to this point.” Many parents became emotional reading the cards. The little cards convey students’ deep gratitude to their parents and reflect SJTU’s motto of “Gratitude and Responsibility.”

Expressing gratitude to parents

 Treating parents to lunch

The new students’ last lunch with their parents was also their first at JI, so it was a significant meal. For this occasion, JI Welcome Team gave 20 RMB to each new student to invite his/her parent for lunch at the SJTU cafeteria. Even though the meal was plain and simple, it showed their deep appreciation.