Cultural pride, technology converge in university acceptance letters
Heritage meets innovation
Published: Jul 02, 2024 10:51 PM
A student gestures with the new acceptance letter from Fudan University Photo: Courtesy of Fudan University

A student gestures with the new acceptance letter from Fudan University Photo: Courtesy of Fudan University

Chinese universities in recent years have added more cultural and technology-related elements in their acceptance letters, embedding intangible cultural heritage and high-tech elements. 

In the last week, many Chinese netizens have been commenting on posts that show off admission letters from different universities.

The designs are so appealing that they are asking to exchange their older versions for the new ones. The designs feature traditional cultural heritage emblems and innovative technology. 
Heritage thrives 

The Zhejiang Sci-Tech University (ZSTU) recently launched its acceptance letter for 2024. Titled jinxiu qiancheng, or a bright future, the letter's design integrates three intangible cultural heritage techniques. 

Inspired by the thousand-year-old Silk Road culture and intangible cultural heritage, the design of the university's acceptance letter utilizes the Song brocade as the major template. 

Known for its stunning color, unique organizational structure, complex craftsmanship, and soft texture, Song brocade, incorporated by UNESCO into the World Intangible Cultural Heritage List in September 2009, is regarded as the top-tier brocade.

In addition, the frame design for the admission letter is also notable. The pattern is extracted from the silkworm pattern from the Warring States Period (475BC-221BC). 

For the names of the newly admitted students in the acceptance letters, the inheritors of Suzhou embroidery will embroider the names. Each freshman will get an exclusive and customized version. 

Many students find the acceptance letter so precious that they plan to cherish it for years. The ZSTU used the silk mounting technique so that freshmen could keep the letter for as long as they wished. 

"It is not easy to get the three intangible cultural heritage techniques integrated," Liang Lin, director of the Admissions and Career Counseling at ZSTU, told the Global Times, adding that the team has been working on the acceptance letter since the beginning of this year, so that all freshmen will receive the admission notice promptly. 

"This admission letter embedded with intangible cultural heritage is not merely an admission certificate, but also an artistic masterpiece carrying history and [Chinese] culture," Liang said. 

Fudan University has selected a traditional Chinese intangible cultural heritage product of Lu Silk, which originated in Gaoping, North China's Shanxi Province, as the cover for the 2024 undergraduate admission letter.

In signature blue color, Fudan University's design for the acceptance letter shows the aesthetics of ancient bookbinding.

The new design has become one of the trending topics on Sina Weibo, Chinese X-like social media platform. 

Zhang Yiwu, a Chinese language and literature professor at Peking University, told the Global Times on Monday that a university acceptance letter is an important turning point for a student.

"For them, the admission letter can be cherished for a lifetime," he said. "Students can remember this key node by collecting the letter as a souvenir. In this way, the acceptance letter is not just a simple letter; it has monumental significance." 

With not much of a budget, universities are adding more panache onto this unique souvenir, he added.

The acceptance letter of Harbin Institute of Technology Photo: Courtesy of Harbin Institute of Technology

The acceptance letter of Harbin Institute of Technology Photo: Courtesy of Harbin Institute of Technology

Tech savvy design

The University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB) has upgraded more high-tech-related elements in its admission letter.

The acceptance letter is made of thin and light steel, nicknamed as the Cicadidae wings-like steel for being as thin and delicate as Cicadidae wings, and is used for 5G equipment. 

With a thickness of 0.07 millimeters, this type of steel was developed through joint research by the USTB and alumni in the Shougang Group.

Students who are admitted to the Harbin Institute of Technology will receive a "golden" key. The ­material for the key is high-performance titanium alloys that are also known as "space metal" and "future metal." The titanium alloys are key components of the space vehicle. 

The metal is 3D printed and polished, using the technology employed for space station docking to complete surface plating.

The shape of the key indicates that students are about to open the doors of the universe and the door to the future. 

Sun Yat-sen University in South China's Guangdong Province is offering a gift box to the newly admitted students.

Inside the box is a "Century Gate" badge. Students can project on a quartz wafer with a light source (such as a mobile phone or flashlight), and see the design of the university's motto handwritten by ­revolutionary and statesman Sun Yat-sen. The square hole is embedded with silicon wafers, which are donated by the university's alumni.

The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Chengdu, Southwest China's ­Sichuan Province has set up a sundial mechanism to open up its admission letter gift box. Inside the box, students will see a silicon chip. 

Each chip was prepared by students from the School of Integrated Circuit Science and Engineering. In the design of a ginkgo leaf, the chip looks dynamic. 

Taohuawu New Year woodcut prints, or nianhua, are a type of traditional art that people put on their doors to ward off evil and express good wishes for the Chinese New Year. The chromatic woodblock prints boast a long history dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD25). 

This year, Soochow University in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, has integrated nianhua elements into its acceptance letter. The pages of the notice display vivid life on campus in gorgeous Taohuawu New Year woodcut print style, wishing the freshmen a dynamic life in their new future. 

The acceptance letter from Soochow University Photo: Courtesy of Soochow University

The acceptance letter from Soochow University Photo: Courtesy of Soochow University