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CCTV News Report on TJU Alumnus Zhang Binfeng’s Public Welfare Undertakings

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CCTV News Report on Zhang Binfeng

On March 5, Tianjin University alumnus Zhang Binfeng was the subject of a report on CCTV News for his contribution to public welfare. With 2,350 volunteers in his organization team, Zhang has collected more than 4,600 waste electronic products and refurbished to reuse them to construct 237 electronic classrooms for rural schools in 29 provinces, including Yunnan, Gansu, and Guizhou Provinces. The project has benefited more than 100,000 rural teachers and students as well as vulnerable urban groups.

A month ago, he was awarded as the 8th Shanghai Charitable Star. As Chairman of the Zhonggu Charity and sponsor of the public welfare project of “I Share – Green IT Classrooms”, he is also one of Shanghai’s top ten outstanding volunteers, the winner of the Shanghai May 4th Youth Medal and in the top ten young public welfare pioneers in Shanghai.

Zhang Binfeng and his teachers and classmates took a group photo upon graduation.

Zhang Binfeng and his teachers and classmates took a group photo upon their reunion party after graduation.

In 1993, Zhang enrolled in Applied Chemistry at Tianjin University. At the reunion party on the 20th anniversary after graduation, he described to his teachers and schoolmates the public welfare work he was engaged in, which made him the focus of the occasion. He said: “I didn’t expect such high recognition from my teachers and schoolmates. I think the recognition can be attributed to the Tianjin University spirit, which endowed me with a love for my home and motherland.”

Zhang Binfeng at Tianjin University

Zhang said he is a typical "engineering man", but always had a humanistic feeling in his heart. In his junior year, Zhang was elected as President of the student union of the department and organized the first Tianjin University Teachers and Students Table Tennis Competition. As the competition was oriented to teachers and students from different departments, he was confronted with many unexpected difficulties. From the planning, to publicity and to organization, he participated in every aspect and accumulated much experience. Through the efforts of Zhang and his companions, the competition finally made a hit. And in the second competition, Zhang succeeded in inviting Zhuang Zedong, who contributed much to “Ping-Pong diplomacy” as the honored guest. It is those experiences in the university made him more courageous and confident to persist in the cause he loves.

Zhang Binfeng during his college years at Tianjin University

During his college years, Zhang was elected monitor of the class and President of the Student Union. He said: “Perhaps that time was the genesis of my idea of engaging in public welfare. I believe everyone would like to do public welfare in his or her heart.” In order to share the opportunity for more students to be engaged in management and service for the class, he resigned as class monitor the following year and served as a leader of a student association. Through taking on the work of the class and the student union, Zhang not only trained his own abilities, but also served his schoolmates. And his abilities for public welfare projects have no doubt been cultivated from his years at Tianjin University.

In 2007, Zhang Binfeng and Zhao Yahui, a reporter from the People’s Daily, carried out an interview activity for public welfare and raised tuition fees and living expenses for needy students in Beichuan. After the Wenchuan earthquake, they went to Beichuan again and initiated a public welfare activity for Beichuan. The activities were of great significance for Zhang. Born in a rural area, he fully understood everything about rural life and paid close attention to rural development. The backward basic education in rural areas made him deeply concerned.

Zhang Binfeng in a green IT classroom

Zhang Binfeng in a public welfare activity

Zhang Binfeng in a public welfare activity

One year later, he quit the job and then devoted himself to public welfare. Some of his friends thought it a pity for him to give up a stable job in a large company in Shenzhen and the chance of starting a business in Beijing with his friends, but he believed that he found the cause he had always been longing for. His public welfare projects focus on two areas: regeneration of electronic classrooms and rural teacher training. His relentless efforts were devoted to “reviving” computers, “extending” knowledge, and “passing on” public spirit as well. Last December, his project “I Share – Green IT Classrooms” won the Gold Medal in the China Youth Social Organization Venture Philanthropy Competition. Furthermore, it was awarded as China’s Best Implementation Project by a GEF Small Grants Program. Zhang said: “What I am taking on is also a profession. Just like other professions, public welfare needs continuous efforts. Only when it becomes an alternative profession can it be sustainable.”

As for the honors he received, he said that the most important for public welfare is never forgetting why you started and being persistent in what you are doing. And the motto of Tianjin University, “Seeking Truth from Facts”, has exerted a profound impact on him. He holds the view that undertaking public welfare requires dealing with practical matters for needy people. “We may not necessarily choose public welfare as a profession, but we can choose to implement the public spirit implanted in our genes.” Zhang added.

Photos are from Shanghai Observer and Zhang Binfeng

By: Jin Chunyan
Editors: Sun Xiaofang and Ross Colquhoun