Chinese universities prepare activities for students unable to go home for Spring Festival
Published: Feb 02, 2021 06:28 PM

Chinese students and foreign students celebrate the Spring Festival together at an university in East China's Zhejiang Province. Photo: VCG

Universities throughout China are planning to hold a variety of events to celebrate the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, for students who cannot go home and stay with family during the holiday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Sunday, the Chinese Ministry of Education announced that the number of students staying on campus for Spring Festival 2021 will be quadruple that of previous years and urged universities to provide service and care for these students to ensure they can still have a warm and enjoyable holiday even if they cannot be with their families, according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency.

Several students interviewed by the Global Times said that they feel their universities are doing what they can to ensure they won't feel lonely during the holiday. 

On February 11-13, Chinese New Year's Eve and the first and second days of the holiday, the canteens on duty at the three campuses belonging to Sichuan University in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, will provide free breakfast for students who stay on campus, while lunch and dinner will cost only 0.01 yuan (0.15 cents) per meal, according to a report from the Sichuan Daily.

The report said that the school also gave students a special Spring Festival "red envelope" by adding 100 yuan to all their meal cards. Red envelopes are often used in China to gift money to people on special occasions, especially during the Spring Festival.

Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology have established food delivery systems that offer free delivery of three meals featuring a variety of dishes to choose from to students each day.

Dumplings are a can't-be-missed traditional food during the festival in China. However, as large gatherings are not allowed due to COVID-19, students are unable to make dumplings together. In order for students not to miss them out, many universities will provide free dumplings during the holiday.

A graduate student at Tianjin University surnamed Yan, who decided not to go home out of safety concerns, told the Global Times that the school's canteens will provide free dumplings on the Chinese New Year's Eve so students can eat together.

Besides food, schools are not forgetting entertainment. The Peking University Health Science Center (PUHSC) in Beijing has prepared small fitness equipment as well as cards and board games for those staying on campus. 

The equipment and games, which include dart boards and table tennis, have been put into a building at PUHSC's School of Public Health. Students can use them all for free, a teacher at the School of Public Health told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The school also established a chat group for all students not heading home so they can make requests, which the school will try its best to meet. 

Some universities like Hangzhou Normal University in East China's Zhejiang Province are even preparing an online gala for the Spring Festival, with programs such as singing, writing Spring Festival  couplets and guessing riddles to win rewards.