On This Special Night, Hear the Voice of Dreams

01, 2023

Email: zhangchi@westlake.edu.cn
Phone: +86-(0)571-86886861
Office of Public Affairs

December 10th is a special day - the 6th anniversary of the Westlake Institute for Advanced Study. Westlake Education Foundation and Westlake University held the WE Hearing Dreams - Public Welfare Story Concert on the day. Westlake family members, faculty and students gathered in the auditorium at Yungu Campus to listen to stories and dreams to the sound of music.

This is the first time we have used the form of a story concert to tell the story of "a university supported by philanthropic resources" to thank our Westlake family for their long-term support. The event was co-hosted by Zhejiang Satellite TV hosts Tao Shen and Jie Hu, and told five chapters of stories related to dreams with a combination of storytelling and music. Westlake family members, faculty and students took the stage to tell stories about themselves and Westlake. Singers with the Hangzhou Opera and Dance Theater, the Voice of China and other guests participated in the event too.

Over the past seven years, more than 24,000 Westlake family members from all over the world have donated to and supported Westlake. Accompanied by music, participants told their stories related to dreams one after another.

Yigong Shi, president of Westlake University, was very excited to hear the stories.  "We all have dreams, but sometimes we can't define what a dream is. Dreams are so beautiful and powerful that can keep us going even when we get weary and suffer hardships.” He mentioned that in 2015, he did not dare to imagine how many people would support the establishment of Westlake University. We are like small streams coming together to form larger rivers and run into the ocean. "Everyone comes together for a big dream," Shi said, "thank you very much to everyone who has been with us through thick and thin."

Westlake University President, Yigong Shi

A Westlake family member said: "I’m pleasantly surprised by the number 24,000. Not only people in China, but people from all over the world are supporting Westlake."

After the concert, Xiao Chen, a Westlake family member, expressed his feelings, "The story of the Westlake family is exciting." He said, "Miracles and dreams come true only when everyone is working hard together. I have seen and heard that many Westlake family members around the world have the same dream, and I believe that philanthropic resources can support operations of institutions like Westlake, where students can take root and thrive.”

Xianglei Han from Westlake also shared his feelings, "I have been doing experiments and studying at Westlake. I’m empowered by  stories from Westlake family members tonight. I will take them with me and devote myself to my study. After I graduate, I will also be a member of the Westlake family and pass on such strength.”

Yaping Xu, the world kayaking champion, was invited to the event and chatted with the professors and students who love sports. Coincidentally, several doctoral students at Westlake had taken her kayaking class. Xu said, "It is very gratifying to see them continue to do aquatic sports at Westlake ." Xu was deeply moved by the stories of the Westlake family and President Shi’s impromptu speech, "A determined person gets a twinkle in his eye."

Many audience mentioned that the most impressive scene was when Qin Xu took her students from Wanwan (a non-profit organization working for people with mental impairments) and sang "Insects Fly" with undergraduates of Westlake. Xu is the founder of Wanwan Trusteeship Center and a donor of the Westlake University Undergraduate Support Program. One of the Westlake family members was moved by Xu’s selfless love, "I come from a small and remote city, and I understand the difficulty of a college student who is troubled by life to persist in his dreams. If they can get more attention and support, maybe they can better pursue their dreams. I am very touched that these people  are also supporting Westlake undergraduates."

The story of the volunteer teaching project "Science Tree Seeds the Future" also touched many in the audience. This project was initiated by the WE Foundation in 2019 when doctoral students at Westlake  taught at primary or secondary schools in rural areas where educational resources are relatively scarce. The stories of volunteer teaching in the past three years were brought to the stage. A doctoral student was touched to see his peers  giving science classes to students in Guizhou and Xinjiang and supporting their dreams about becoming scientists, "The future of science lies in the hands of our children. When I was a kid, I only had mathematics and Chinese classes. Without science classes, I have been driven by curiosity to get here. As doctoral students of Westlake, we must not only conduct excellent research, but also make science  accessible to a wider audience.”

A junior high school student said at the end of the event, "At an institution like Westlake, people are working hard towards their dreams. I don't have a clear dream yet. What I want to say is I want to go find my dreams."

A family member of Westlake, as she left the event said that the words of Yaping Xu still lingered in her heart, "It doesn't matter if you lose anything. Where there are dreams, there is hope."  

This was truly a night of dreams. With the support of Westlake family members and their dreams, Westlake University has been established and developed, and continues to grow through the changing seasons.