BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhua) - For the class of 2020, not only can commencement ceremonies be livestreamed, but also packing luggage for those who are unable to claim their belongings in person.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many university graduates in Beijing were unable to return to campus. Universities are now helping graduates with personal belongings they may have left at school.
"Here's half a bottle of toner. Do you still need it?" In a girls' dormitory at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), Zhu Yanmeng, a lecturer at the School of Design and Arts, was talking to a student on her mobile phone.
On the other end of the line was Sun Jia, a graduate of the college, sitting in her home in northeast China's Liaoning Province, watching as her teacher did the packing for her.
Clothes, medicines, a skateboard... Zhu picked up Sun's personal belongings one by one and showed them through the phone for the owner to decide. Some were to be mailed and others were to be discarded.
At Beijing Sport University, more than 400 faculty and staff spent eight days packing the luggage of more than 3,600 graduates. They also checked and stored more than 18,000 pieces of luggage. At BIT, over 1,000 faculty members and staff have concentrated on disposing the luggage of about 6,000 graduates.
The luggage-packing work of the School of Design and Arts of BIT started on July 1. Around 60 faculty members joined in the task, including 11 teachers from the sports department who came to lend support.
Like Zhu Yanmeng, they used mobile phones to livestream the whole process of packing for almost each owner.
To protect the privacy of students, the college also communicated with graduates one-on-one before the packing began. Students could entrust a staff member, a teacher or a classmate with the packing. The school also discussed options for those who did not want others to dispose of their luggage.
Compared with boys, girls have more stuff to be packed. Eighty percent of the students in the School of Design and Arts are female, which increases workload.
"Each box needs to be no more than 30 kg. I remember one student's personal belongings were packed into 17 boxes," Zhu said.
Students majoring in art also have electronic organs, guitars, Guzheng and other large instruments that cannot be sent by mail. These items were temporarily kept by students in Beijing or by instructors, waiting for their owners.
After more than an hour of intense work, Sun Jia's luggage was finally packed. Zhu picked up her phone and showed it around the dormitory again, asking the graduate to make sure if anything was missing.
"I feel like an e-commerce livestreamer, because I kept asking my students, 'Do you want this?' and the answer always seemed 'yes'," Zhu said with a laugh.
Because of the epidemic, Sun has not been able to return to school for more than half a year.
"I was worried about my luggage, but it all went smoothly. They made well-rounded arrangements and did the packing carefully. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks," the graduate said through the phone.
Packing work often starts at 8 or 9 a.m., and the staff and teachers often work late into the night. "There is a lot of luggage to pack, but we are all willing to help," said Xiao Xiong, secretary of the Party committee of the School of Design and Arts.
This year, 8.74 million students in China are expected to graduate from colleges and universities. A survey conducted by China Youth Daily found that 88.6 percent of new Chinese college graduates celebrated their graduation in digital form amid the COVID-19 epidemic, making graduation videos, watching graduation ceremonies and buying academic souvenirs online.