From volunteer to exhibition center staffer, this 'little leaf' has deep CIIE ties

Hu Min
Wang Ping provided volunteer services at the first CIIE when she was a student. Having worked at all four expos, she is now doing planning for the fifth.
Hu Min
From volunteer to exhibition center staffer, this 'little leaf' has deep CIIE ties
Ti Gong

Wang Ping poses with the CIIE mascot, Jinbao, during the 4th China International Import Expo in 2021.

From a volunteer at the first China International Import Expo in 2018 to a staffer of the National Exhibition and Convention Center of Shanghai, Wang Ping has some of the deepest ties with CIIE.

She provided volunteer services for the first CIIE when she was a student at Shanghai Normal University. For two months, she and her peers worked in the certificate-issuing team.

"Thanks to that, my ties with the National Exhibition and Convention Center Shanghai started," Wang said. The center was the expo's permanent hosting venue.

"Based on my experience, voluntary work requires extreme patience," said Wang. "For a single certificate, the correct spelling matters, detailed down to the format of punctuation marks, if the information is to be correctly input."

Taking a journey back through time, Wang said the volunteer experience was "an invaluable treasure" in her earlier life.

"Those days passed quickly, but they are memorable, and also had a big impact on my career choice after graduation," she said.

Wang majored in exhibition economy and management.

"I am fortunate to have attended the CIIE and I am grateful for the opportunities given by the expo," said Wang.

She now works at the National Exhibition and Convention Center Shanghai, involving Party and trade union affairs.

The preparation and six-day exhibition period of CIIE are among the busiest times for Wang and her colleagues.

During the third and fourth events, Wang worked in guest reception.

"It involved a large amount of preparation work," she said. "I needed to be very familiar with the routes because a single exhibition hall has more than 20 entrances and exits and I also needed to calculate the arrival timing of elevators to cut guests' waiting time."

Wang walked numerous times within the center to ensure she grasped the exact locations of different booths.

CIIE volunteers are nicknamed "little leaves" after the clover-shaped National Exhibition and Convention Center.

"Despite my change of role, I never forget my original mission – being a bright and vigorous 'little leaf'," she said.

Wang said she hopes new "little leaves" will cherish the honor and make their contributions on the grand stage.

"It requires devotion," she said.

"The convention and exhibition industry was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope it will wane and the 5th CIIE will run smoothly," she added.

Nearly 22,000 volunteers have served the past four expos, according to the Youth League Shanghai.

They provided a range of voluntary services involving on-the-spot guidance and consultation, guest reception, exhibition registration and management, news release, transportation, statistics, medical treatment and emergency rescue, and COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control.

Some have provided multilingual services to foreign guests.

University students have been active applicants, with about 40 universities involved in volunteer recruitment and organization every year for the expo.

"Little leaves" demonstrate the volunteer spirit of dedication, fraternity, mutual assistance and progress, and have made great contributions to the success of the expo, Youth League Shanghai said.

In total, nine volunteers who were all university students have served the past four consecutive CIIE.

Also, about 50,000 to 60,000 volunteers provide services during the expo every year in areas near the National Exhibition and Convention Center Shanghai, at airports, Metro stations, railway stations, business circles and cultural and tourist landmarks, according to the youth league.

Recruitment of volunteers to work in management posts for the 5th CIIE will be launched soon, according to the youth league.

COVID-19 prevention and control, recruitment and training plans for volunteers have been worked out, it said.

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