Crowd­funded NTU hik­ing trip panned

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY SUN HSIN- HSUAN

The na­tion’s top-rank­ing col­lege, Na­tional Tai­wan Univer­sity (NTU, ), made head­lines re­cently as a group of stu­dents em­barked on a NT$500,000 fundrais­ing cam­paign for a 10-day hik­ing trip up Nanhu Moun­tain ( ), with a slo­gan say­ing that “in­vest­ing in us is in­vest­ing in Tai­wan’s fu­ture.”

The group is made up of 25 stu­dents from dif­fer­ent de­part­ments that com­bined as a team at a Lead­er­ship De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram, which is a gen­eral course at NTU, aim­ing to en­hance stu­dents’ lead­er­ship and team­work skills.

They de­signed a pro­ject called “Climb for Tai­wan” as part of the course’s as­sign­ment, and also set up a web­site for it, in or­der to pro­mote their cam­paign as well as brand­ing for com­pa­nies that in­vested in the pro­ject.

The bud­get plan re­leased online shows that they cal­cu­lated NT$20,000 for each stu­dent on the trip, in­clud­ing NT$ 10,000 for equip­ment, NT$ 4,000 for trans­porta­tion, NT$3,000 for cater­ing and the rest for in­sur­ance and other de­tails. A NT$500,000 tar­get was hence set up for the cam­paign.

The public slammed the plan when the plan was made public. Ne­ti­zens were among the harsh­est to crit­i­cize, quot­ing com­ments such as “NTU stu­dents are rais­ing money to have fun,” “So you think you’re all elites, and how does that make us all ATMs?” and “Even ele­men­tary stu­dents put on char­ity events to raise money, and you claim to be the fu­ture of Tai­wan?”

Cheng-chi Univer­sity As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Liu Hung-en ( ) said that fundrais­ing should be the last method one adopts af­ter putting in all they have earned them­selves, “and not just ask­ing for money.” More­over, he said that a true leader would achieve the most with the least money, as op­posed to NTU, “which al­lows its stu­dents to de­sign a hik­ing trip at a much higher cost than nec­es­sary.”

NTU Pro­fes­sor Re­ponses

In re­sponse, the deputy di­rec­tor of the pro­gram, Chu Shi-wei (

), also an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor in the NTU Depart­ment of Physics, led the stu­dents in charge of “Climb for Tai­wan” in a press con­fer­ence yesterday, say­ing that one of the core val­ues of the course this term is for stu­dents to learn about per­sua­sion skills through fundrais­ing. “Be­ing con­vinc­ing is a cru­cial skill for a leader, which is a thing many of them (the stu­dents) will be­come in the fu­ture,” he said.

Stu­dents guar­an­teed that in­vest­ing com­pa­nies will be branded on their web­site as be fea­tured in a short doc­u­men­tary that will be played dur­ing their pre­sen­ta­tion af­ter fin­ish­ing the pro­ject.

“As they are rais­ing money from en­ter­prises and not com­mon peo­ple, this should not in­volve public wel­fare,” Chu said.

Wux­ing Ele­men­tary School

The Wux­ing Ele­men­tary School na­tion cham­pi­ons girls’ bas­ket­ball team also re­cently started off a NT$1 mil­lion fundrais­ing cam­paign to cover travel ex­penses to Fin­land in or­der to com­pete at an in­ter­na­tional bas­ket­ball com­pe­ti­tion.

Stu­dents de­cided to sell um­brel­las to raise money. Dur­ing an in­ter­view, a stu­dent sur­named Chang told re­porters that hik­ing is a good ac­tiv­ity, how­ever, she thinks that NTU stu­dents should earn the money them­selves be­cause “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

CNA

Stu­dents of the Wux­ing Ele­men­tary School girls’ bas­ket­ball team sell um­brel­las, hold­ing posters ex­plain­ing the rea­son for their NT$1 mil­lion fundrais­ing cam­paign. They were rais­ing money to cover travel costs to Fin­land, so as to com­pete at an in­ter­na­tional bas­ket­ball com­pe­ti­tion af­ter them claimed the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

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