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Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Changing Look of FCU

Judy Lin & Emily Chan

In Taiwan, many universities have large campus. However, our school, Feng Chia University, is small. That doesn’t mean it’s boring, though. You can see there are many special sites on this beautiful campus such as Xue-si Pond between the gym and Xue-si Building, and the big green lawn next to the student activity center. What you may not know is that at each of these places, there used to be buildings!  With such a small campus, why did the school leave so many large areas open? Each has its own story.
All photos by the authors
Xue-si Pond is a beautiful place where students, teachers, and people from surrounding neighborhoods can take a break and enjoy some quiet time. There is a pavilion in the center of the lake, with a Chinese couplet on it - "Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous." This calligraphy for this couplet was done by Gao Xin, a professor at Feng Chia University, to encourage students in their studies.

Actually, Xue-si Pond was not a pond in the past; it was called Xue-si garden. This garden contained only a small stream until the area was reconstructed by the school. However, there really was a pond on campus many years ago – a lotus pond. This was Yu Garden, which is now the site of the FCU Sports Center!

There is another mysterious place on our campus, the Li-de student center. This is really a Catholic Church that was built in the 1970s by the Catholic Jesuits to commemorate the missionary Xavier Francis. One might wonder why there is a church in our university. Actually, this church was built on land that is privately owned by the Catholic Church and was established to offer religious services for students. Ms. Kang, a teacher at the church, told us that in the beginning, the church was actually outside the school. At that time, Feng Chia University was just a small college. When it started to grow, the school gradually bought all the land around the church. That’s why the church is now inside our campus. Ms. Kang said if they sold the church to the school at that time, maybe the church would have become a lawn! To give students a place for peace and reflection, the church decided to keep the land. The door is always open for everyone,she said with a friendly smile.

While the church did not become a lawn, there is a big lawn just across the street.  This was formerly the site of the women’s dormitory. Many years ago, the school removed all dormitories from campus. After tearing down the dorm, the school did not reuse this space but left it to be a large lawn. We think this was a really good decision. These lawns make our school look better and less crowded.

Around the FCU campus, there are probably many more interesting places with interesting stories. When you are walking around school and are curious about who, what, why, or when things became the way they are now, take a few minutes to ask someone.  You never know what secrets you might find! 

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