My Exotic Journey Starts Here—NCSU Discovery by Xiaojing Hou

Since I set foot on Raleigh, I fell in love with this green and tranquil city, like the “Peach Blossom Spring” — a utopic place away from hustle and bustle of the outside world, depicted by Chinese idyllic poet Yuanming Tao in Song dynasty. But Raleigh is far from utopia, a virtual and imaginary place, because of NCSU. The Wolfpack, is an embodiment of ambition, wisdom, collaboration and action. I am going to unveil this diversified and dynamic Wolfpack from different perspectives.

Student-organized Church Culture

Impressed by various student church related organizations on campus, I am curious to join and figure out what role do these organizations play at NCSU. Also, what role do they play in American education?

Grace Church’s Sunday Worship on campus.
Grace Church’s Sunday Worship on campus.

Luckily, I got to know Chinese and American friends in Grace Church very soon. Through observation and experiences in some activities and Sunday prayer rituals organized by this Church in Talley, I began to realize their enthusiastic efforts in helping both students and local residents relate, engage and adjust to life. They are sharing and giving in the name of God. Meanwhile, there are bands of students singing and student hosts presiding the whole ritual, which is well organized and well presented.

I know a lot of people in America and China, who are negative while mentioning God. They fear being considered superstitious or religious. I am understanding that having a faith does no harm; actually, the Bible has moral codes. Student-organized church sessions are committed to offering supplementary moral influence, as well as practice for collaboration, leadership, organization and interpersonal skills. The sessions combine doctrines with realistic problems.

I stopped by a table in Talley the other day. It had a survey with 4 posters erected on it, organized by a couple of students who were Christians. The first poster was about American history including slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, emancipation, and Americans displacing native Indians. Personal views and feelings of segregation and discrimination on campus and a verse from God were on the following posters. And various pictures from different races underneath a drawing was the last poster. A girl on the spot confidently and eloquently interacted with me and explained: “no matter what color your skin is, what nationality you are, we share the same earth. So we are a family. ” This was very impressive.
Steve Bortner, a 60-year old leader (also a scholar) in Xfa/Chi Alfa Church told me in the interview: they were striving for reaching the hearts and influencing young people when they were having dreams, aspirations, anxieties and uncertainties about future. They were helping and guiding those young people. Even though it was hard to crack the nutshell at first to reach hearts of those young people, they were willing to try. This church has covered about 300 universities across America. Their positive and nonstop contribution to NCSU and the American education should not be overlooked.

With these diversified student church organizations, NCSU presents unique moral opportunities. The moral part sets the sound foundation for its academic competence. Reflecting on the campus culture in China’s universities and education, we need similar influences.


Packapalooza — Opening the Door to the Wolfpack

Could you imagine the scene? About 75,000 students and residents were drawn onto Hillsborough Street on Saturday, Aug. 20. Chancellor Randy Woodson was jamming with his band and NC State athletes met their fans throughout the day.

That’s right! It is Packapalooza, an annual back-to-school block party that ushers in a new semester. As new comers, we did not miss the opportunity to get a view of this big event.

Packapalooza — closing fireworks at the Bell Tower.

After walking through the street, I was amazed at the countless organizations on display, ranging from 10 independent colleges, campus offices, 65 departments to various student organizations and clubs. The sense of serving and engaging with others is a significant part of the NCSU culture. Performances and interactive activities are super rich and fun. Not satisfied just to be welcomed and entertained, I volunteered to help in Confucius Institute (CI)’s desk, experiencing Chinese culture’s appeal to Americans and students from the other countries.

Packapalooza helped open the door to the multi-faceted Wolfpack. I am looking forward to understanding more about NC State culture in the upcoming days.

Help at CI’s desk: Writing Chinese characters on the lantern
Help at CI’s desk: Writing Chinese characters on the lantern