Inaugural NYU Shanghai President’s Service Awards

Apr 6 2014

The 2014 NYU Shanghai President’s Service Award ceremony was held on Friday, April 5th, 2014.  NYU President John Sexton, NYU Shanghai Chancellor Yu Lizhong, and Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman presented three awards; two to student organizations, the More Than Debate Group and the Parliamentary Board; and one to an individual student, Jack Zhu, in recognition of their promotion of learning, leadership, and quality of student life at New York University.

With founding members from China, Spain, Pakistan, and the USA, the More Than Debate Group’s core mission is to create a forum through which members of the student body are able to express their views on a wide range of topics in an amicable, educational, and tolerant environment. The club has been developing a mechanism for civic dialogue, necessary on any college campus, but all the more important on a fully multinational, multicultural campus situated in the heart of China, where concerns about censorship and free speech are ever-present. In creating a forum for a civil exchange of ideas on topics important to the campus community, and for creating an environment in which students can build leadership skills by learning the art of debate, the More Than Debate Group is forging ahead with creating the kind of enriching, positive, critical exchange of ideas that is at the core of NYU Shanghai’s educational mission.

The Parliamentary Board, comprised of 9 students (3 of whom are Chinese nationals, 3 international in origin, and 3 American) selected by a panel of faculty and staff from among many applicants, was responsible for outlining the structure of student government and drafting the initial student constitution at NYU Shanghai. They met frequently over a 3-week period, hosted three open student forums, and educated students about their ideas for student government.  They listened to their peers, took feedback, and translated it into a winning structure for student governance, establishing the groundwork for governance at this new university. Their work was exemplary and will have a profound and lasting impact on the development of NYU Shanghai.

The individual award went to Zhu (Jack) Hua, for his many contributions to NYU Shanghai, NYU, and the city of Shanghai.  Zhu, who won first place in the Regional Final (Shanghai) in The 19th China Daily “21st Century Coca-Cola Cup” National English Speaking Competition, is also a volunteer English teacher in the Shanghai Stepping Stones Program.  In addition to his academic achievements in and out of the classroom, Jack is currently a Co-university Collaborator in Club Committee of the Student Government at NYU Shanghai.  He worked as a student ambassador at the 2014 NYU Shanghai Chinese Candidate Weekend and cultural ambassador for students from NYUAD and NYUNY during the 2014 January-Term.  A prime example of a well-rounded student, Jack also won awards at both “The S Factor” and the Talent Show during NYU Shanghai’s orientation week.

First established in New York City, the NYU President's Service Awards are given to students or student organizations that have had an extraordinary and positive impact on the University community, including achievements within schools and departments, the University at large, local neighborhoods, and NYU's presence in the world. Successful nominations demonstrate that the student or organization has made a significant and positive contribution to the University in one or more of the following ways:

        Building community

        Enhancing wellness

        Promoting diversity

        Demonstrating civic responsibility

        Actively volunteering

        Creating innovative and new projects or activities

        Innovating and enhancing existing University programs or services

        Exhibiting outstanding leadership with an organization or project