Crowdfunded NTU hiking trip panned
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.”
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.