Monday, August 19, 2013

The Sunday before the first class day of the semester is special at Ton Duc Thang University. The day is referred to as “Open Day” and students and their parents are invited on campus for a day of information, sports, cultural presentations including song and dance, martial arts, and lots of fun. The celebration takes place from 8am till late afternoon. We participated by joining the students and Faculty of our Labor Relations Department at a table where we met potential new students and their parents and welcomed them to the University. The information tables were staffed by students who were assisted by faculty.  There was lots of Q and A about our department and our pride in Labor Relations and Trade Unions and its important role on the campus and in society. In addition to the discussion with the parents we displayed a video to interest people in the department. Together with the other departments sharing tables on the plaza of Building B we attracted lots of parents and students.

When we walked around campus we saw groups of 40 and 50 parents with their students taking guided walking tours of the buildings, grounds and facilities such as the Sports Arena and the football (soccer) field. If for any reason a person preferred to be transported on campus nice vans were available that shuttled parents to the different locations. It was a day of excitement! In this country as in the USA, parents may be seeing their daughter or son off to school and away from home for the first time and they have the same concerns of making sure that everything is going to be just fine.

Close to our table was the table of the science and technology students and faculty and they brought a lot of fun to the event with their collection of robots made on campus. The robots drove around among the crowed, sensed barriers and changed direction to the enjoyment of the crowd. I shot a couple of short videos of the robots in action! At one point Leanna and I were invited to go over to the technology table where we placed our little finger into a electronic health scanner that checked heart rate, blood pressure and many other health signs in a matter of a few seconds and output the results on to a screen. We both were rated very healthy.  Photo

At another corner of the plaza the hotel industry students and faculty set up their facility and were serving samples of nicely concocted drinks to adults. I had a delicious rum drink, maybe a Havana Libre or something like that.Photo No one was allowed more than one sample drink and no students, thank you. In the picture above we posed with a Duck that was on campus for the day holding our drinks.

Later from our dorm room we heard the cheering from the football stadium as the games progressed and music from the Arena and almost constant drumming. In Vietnam a soccer game is not complete with each team's drums!  Sports and cultural activities are highly prized here and we got our fill today. Volunteers from the Youth Union and campus student groups performed and directed people around – it is expected that all students at the campus will volunteer in activities to serve the people and they take great pride in their service – putting people before profits – one of the demands so often within the movement in the US.

After the day's activities, we joined the TDT Business Administration faculty at a restaurant across the boulevard from the college to celebrate the start of a new semester.  GREAT seafood and a chance to get to know some of the newer lecturers.   

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