Young volunteers rally to make CIIE a success
Getting up at 5am, walking some 20,000 steps, providing services 10 hours a day – all these figures add up to the daily routine of Huang Qianyi, a volunteer who is serving at the China International Import Expo for the fourth time.
As a veteran volunteer at the expo, Huang, a postgraduate of Shanghai University Of Engineering Science, provides guidance and consultation at the National Exhibition and Convention Center of Shanghai, the venue of the event this year.
"CIIE witnessed my growth all the time, and I have deep bond with it," Huang said.
She has provided volunteer services in different posts such as consultation, guidance and guest reception.
"I applied to be a CIIE volunteer at the very beginning because I am interested in it," said Huang. "The interest became a love and I have accumulated a lot of experience as a CIIE volunteer service now."
Huang often fell asleep on the shuttle bus when returning to her university after a day of hard work. She arrives at the exhibition and convention center at 8am and leaves at 6:30pm.
"But I am always full of expectation for my service in the morning," she said. "I am happy helping guests from around the world and am moved when they express gratitude sincerely."
"The memories of CIIE are so colorful and vivid, which made me continue my service again this year, and my story with it is going on."
Huang said being a CIIE volunteer requires a kind of devotion spirit and enthusiasm, as well as hard work and being flexible to handle different kind of situations.
"We also need to update our knowledge base continuously and improve foreign language skills," she added.
Gaohar Nur, a 19-year-old student of Shanghai Jiao Tong University from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, who can speak a number of languages such as English and Kazakh, is providing multi-lingual services to guests at the CIIE.
She spent a lot of time on training to get familiar with different venues, routes and their locations before the event started.
"When I saw the recruitment poster in September, I did not hesitate a second to apply," she said. "I am curious about the expo because I only learnt about it on TV and I want to make contribution to it."
When she arrived at the National Exhibition and Convention Center of Shanghai for the first time, she found it was big.
"Due to news reports, I am familiar with iconic buildings at the center, but it still took me long time to remember all the locations and routes, which are complicated," she said.
She once served as a COVID-19 prevention and control volunteer.
"I want to learn international culture and make exchanges with others during the event, and most importantly, make contributions to the grand event," she said.
The "tie" with CIIE started in 2018 for Kang Xinli, a student of Shanghai University and 2nd-year volunteer for the expo.
Memories have flashed back.
"I was a senior high school student at that time, and I looked forward to be a volunteer serving the expo when I watched TV about the event," Kang recalled.
She applied immediately when she saw the recruitment poster at university.
"I believed it was an opportunity at a 'doorway' when I read the recruitment notice," she said.
She served as a volunteer for the Hongqiao International Economic Forum last year, and works for the guarantee and technical service team of pavilions this year.
"I want to make progress year on year and grow with the expo," Kang said.
"I feel like I stand in front of the whole world and I want to show the demeanour of the young generation in China to the world," she added.
These young volunteers serving CIIE has become a shining scenery of the event, Youth League Shanghai said.
In total, 3,591 "little leaves," who are students from 40 local universities and colleges, are serving at the 5th CIIE.
Among them, 11 percent have served previous CIIE, with three volunteer never missing any one of the past four CIIE, according to the Youth League Shanghai.
There has been a significant increase of volunteers born after 2000 for this year's CIIE, accounting for 89 percent of the total.
CIIE volunteers are nicknamed "little leaves" after the clover-shaped National Exhibition and Convention Center.
They undertook training and drills before their service started.
Wang Wenxiang, a postgraduate of Shanghai Normal University, started his work as early as July as a long-term management volunteer of the expo.
He walked five or six times around all venues before each "patrol" with other volunteers.
"There are some changes including the layout of catering facilities, and I need to carefully mark them," Wang explained. "Accuracy is a basic requirement."
Zhu Kaiming of Tongji University is a veteran of volunteer services. He has been serving the event for the fourth year.
"Stepping into the venue, I have both familiar and fresh feelings, and the patterns of "five" at the central square and on promotion posters all remind me that the 5th CIIE is coming," he said.
Similar to last year, Zhu is responsible for receiving guests.
"Devotion endows me with a sense of fun, which is more stressed since I became a 'little leaf'," he said. "I want to make every guest satisfied."
Li Xinjie, a volunteer from Shanghai Polytechnic University, found the center too large.
"It is very different when you walk," she said.
She carefully recorded the requirements in a notebook one by one and tried to keep each location in mind to avoid getting lost.
"I am very proud and happy to be a volunteer at the CIIE," she said.
Huang Kailing, a teacher of the Youth League of Tongji University, said that "CIIE nurtures university volunteers, who tell the story of China and promote voluntary spirit at the same time via the grand stage of the expo."
In total, 546 students of the university have served the expo in the past four years, and more than 120 among them have submitted applications to become members of the Communist Party of China.
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.