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Three HKMU alumni return to serve alma mater

Having graduated from different faculties and programmes in different years, the three HKMUers, Jamie Lee Tsz-ching, Queenie Kwan Ching-man and Elvin Lau Yu-kit, have coincidentally returned to Hong Kong Metropolitan University (HKMU) for service. Despite staying in a familiar environment during their education and employment, the three graduates have never been bound by the comfort zone. With firm determination and acute awareness, they are able to forge ahead a new path towards success. Rooted in a solid soil for careers, the three HKMUers are able to fulfil their dream of education and the service spirit for our society. Let’s dive into their stories.

Elvin Lau Yu-kit:
Stepping into the frontline to face real-life challenges in the community

Since his secondary school days, Elvin has been a keen observer of social issues. It was only natural for him to take the Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours in Applied Social Studies. On the question of career relevance, he jokingly commented, “There is no career path in this programme!” Nevertheless, the programme equips students with critical thinking skills and the ability to analyse social issues, which can be useful in a wide range of professions. He admitted that the subject related to social policy was the most rewarding: “We look at social issues from different perspectives, analyse their causes, and explore how to bring people together and mobilise the power of the community to help each other”. He has never wavered in his original passion of enrolling in the programme, aspiring to get more involved in the community and help more people.

Support for the disadvantaged to develop personal ambition

In pursuit of his vision, Elvin went out into the community and participated in the “Best Wishes to the Elderly: Life Education Programme” through the Student Affairs Office to fulfil the aspirations of the disadvantaged elderly. He used to serve a widowed grandmother who suffers from cognitive impairment, which makes communication difficult. At first, he found it hard to comfort her: “She kept recounting her late husband’s past, but I decided to listen attentively instead of forcing her to continue the conversation”. The only wish of this grandmother was to have dim sum and a walk in the park, and Elvin accompanied her along the way: “Seeing her happy makes me feel the same way. I kept reflecting on how to discuss life and death with the elderly, and realised that I had to experience it myself before I knew how to communicate with them through encouragement and with empathy.” He joined the Hong Kong St. John Ambulance team back in junior secondary school, and has been volunteering to serve others. “The biggest inspiration from the programme is to know the direction I want to take in helping others”, he added.

Graduating in the midst of the pandemic, his job prospects were in limbo. However, he came across the recruitment of an Assistant Student Affairs Officer at HKMU: “The responsibility of leading students in volunteering work is exactly what I expected.” In the past one and a half years since his employment, he led a number of activities that manifested his vision, one of which was about life and death education. The idea was extended from the above programme in which he participated, arranging for students to support the elderly in taking their last photographs and creating a life book in preparation for their farewells. In response to the enthusiasm of the participants and the public, he said, “Not only did the programme inspire students to serve the community, but I also joined the frontline to assist two groups of participants at the same time, which benefited me in thinking about elderly services from a different perspective”.

Tailoring activities to promote a sense of belonging

His leadership skills in leading students into the society also stemmed from HKMU. Elected as the President of the Students' Union in 2020, he was given the opportunity to reflect students’ voices on the governance platform, which was a valuable real-world experience despite its internal nature: “I had to fulfil my responsibilities as a student representative in meetings with senior management of the University. It was very challenging to manage the relationship between the two sides, and I have improved my communication skills a lot”. One of the key challenges was the renaming of the University in 2021, when he had to express students’ dissent, despite the dissatisfaction of some students with his performance. “I could only endure the pressure and do what I could, which honed my resilience to stress”.

Elvin admitted to feeling “disdainful” towards HKMU in the early days, but the misconception was dispelled as he realised that there was more to it than meets the eye and he thanked the University for giving him the opportunity to explore. Returning to serve his alma mater as a dissident back in the day, he said, “It feels amazing! Now that I have changed my identity, I can think about what I can do more for the University and the students”. Apart from his role as a former student and staff member, Elvin is also an alumnus and a senior. “My strength is to know students' thinking and expectations, and that I can bring out the best in them”, he said. He has conceived activities that release students’ creativity, and encourage them to share the ideas and learn from the experience. The successful results will in turn strengthen the students’ sense of belonging, as he expressed his hope that “volunteering will become a signature tradition of HKMU, thus fostering a sense of belonging among the students”.