What is BATH PASS?
HKPASS or “PASS” stands for Hong Kong Public Affairs & Social Service Society. The first PASS society was founded at the London School of Economics nine years ago and then followed by other universities in the UK.
BATH PASS was founded in August 2012 and it is registered as one of the delegated observers of the Association of Public Affairs and Social Service (APASS), an organisation which establishes a delegation-based panel for all existing PASS societies in UK universities.
Why was the society set up? And what are the goals?
There are two prominent reasons of setting up the society. Since 2012, the implementation of ‘national education’ in all Hong Kong primary schools which were criticised as being a “brainwash’’ to students. The founder and ex-committee of BATHPASS brought up this burning issue to wish more of their schoolmates would pay attention to current affairs. In addition, the experience from a service trip to Yunnan last year made the founder Priscilla understand more the situations of the underprivileged, and she wished more university students would gather together in order to provide care and support to them. She thinks that ‘’giving’’ is what we should do as we have taken more than we need from society.
Hence, our goal is to raise members’ awareness towards social, economic and political issues. It also aims to increase and widen community involvement among our members. In fact, BATH PASS is not only a society, but also a means for members to have a constant update of historical and contemporary issues. We hope that BATH PASS can become a platform for members to share their viewpoints on international and local affairs and provide opportunities for members to contribute to the community through social services.
What are the aims, roles and responsibilities of the committee?
BATH PASS was formed by a group of students who are keen on inspiration and challenges. The committee’s aim is to promote public awareness and provide opportunities to serve those in need to peers. We believe these enrichments accumulated at university will be beneficial to personal development and teamwork. PASS events are also designed to enhance students’ different transferrable skills and boost their profiles with the engagement in a wide range of experiences.
Why do you think they are important?
Raising the awareness of youth to society is vital, this enables students to be familiar with historical and current affairs, to build a thorough understanding of their rights in order to uphold each dignities and identities. Together with our service projects, a combination of knowledge and action, we aim to empower others to face difficulties and to achieve our goal — SEE THE WORLD WITH HEART.
What events have you done in the past and what’s in the pipeline?
Over the previous year, we have organised various fund raising events such as charity skydiving for Age UK, and Valentine’s charity chocolate sale. In addition, we have also organised social services events in Hong Kong, one of them was a visit to the children’s ward in a local hospital during the Christmas holiday to celebrate Christmas and New Year with the children.
This summer, we escalated the size of the project to a series of social events. One of them was a workshop for children from poor families, we played games and demonstrated simple scientific experiments to them, aiming to stimulate the children’s interest in non-academic knowledge, as well as to light up their passion for learning. Another project was an elderly home visit, we chatted with the elderly people and produced a ‘memoir’ for them to preserve the precious stories of their past.
We also went on a service trip to Cambodia arranged by the Hong Kong Happy Tree Social Services that took place in early September. This included visits to orphanages, villages in slum areas and museums. Not only did we meet orphanages with HIV or orphan diseases, such as some disorders and syndromes, we also organised some games for team work skills training. We had a lesson of life and witnessed the impacts to the development of a country from an extreme political power and poor economic system. We hope this flagship event will enable more undergraduate students to learn to view the world in a different perspective through visits to indigent areas and provide various services to the impoverished targets.
On the other hand, we organised various Joint-PASS societies events in Hong Kong. One is the parliamentary debate with the APASS and Warwick PASS. The aim was to provide a platform for both Hong Kong and UK students to discuss and share their viewpoints on some international and domestic current affairs in the way of a UK parliament debate. In August, together with four universities (Bristol, Exeter, Durham and Birmingham) we held a charity dinner named “Mardi Gras” to raise funds for two charitable organisations in order to help the underprivileged and those in need. We were pleased that approximately 200 guests came and donated more than £2500 to those organisations.
In the coming year, we are aiming to organise more charity fund raising events alongside current affairs discussion forums in Bath, hoping to encourage more students joining social services and provide actual help to the charities and ultimately, those truly in need in the world.
What organisations have you approached to help your society?
BATHPASS is a Hong Kong-based society, but we have approached some UK charitable organisations for social services. The AgeUK is a UK based charity which provides care services and advice to the elderly. We will work with them to provide a traditional British ‘’Sunday Lunch’’ from the local community in November, while proposing a Chinese Food and chat session with them about Chinese culture and current affairs in our country during the next Lunar New Year.
Our service trip to Cambodia which took place in mid-September was a function jointly organised with a Hong Kong organisation called Happy Tree Social Services, which aims to provide medical, educational and social services to the disadvantaged minority in the world.
Moreover, we will have a charity sale with the help of Piincha, which is a bubble tea store in Bath. Piincha will sell bubble tea and some of the profits will be donated to local charities.
In order to provide various social services to the society during the summer of 2013, we contacted different organisations for different volunteering services. For example, we organised an outdoor day trip with Boys’ and Girls’ Club Association of Hong Kong for underprivileged children in HK. Also, we cooperated with a local charity LPD Education Foundation and a local NGO Covenant Heart Social Services to conduct a 4-week workshop for underprivileged primary school students in HK.
Are you affiliated with other universities? What plans or strategies do you have to engage the wider community and also get more students involved?
Through the co-hosted events in July and August, we have built up close relations with other PASS societies, e.g. Warwick, Cambridge and UCL. In July, we had organised a parliamentary debate with Warwick PASS and a charity dinner with four ‘mid-land’ universities (Bristol, Birmingham, Durham and Exeter). It is a rare opportunity for us to work together to organise such meaningful and charitable events, we are hoping to work with other universities in both Hong Kong and UK in the coming year.
After the start of university, we will go to London and other cities to participate in other PASS events such as City Run, Christmas annual dinner and debate forums. The events acts as a platform for the freshers, who are enthusiastic in public affairs and social services, to get to know each other and work together in the future.
We plan to organise more joint-PASS events in Hong Kong and in the UK next year. With the support and help of other societies, larger scale events could be held. Through discussion forums and social services, we plan to make our events more diverse and interesting, for example a charity singing contest in Hong Kong and City Run in the UK. So we are able to promote and encourage more students from Bath and other universities to participate in our joint events.
In order to make our society multi-cultural, we would like to invite societies of different countries to our events, or we would organise activities together. For instance, organising discussion forums on some international affairs related to our cities, and it could also act as a kind of cultural exchange.