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International Students at NPUST Enjoy Festive New Year Atmosphere in Taiwan
On January 28th, a New Year Luncheon was held in Pingtung City at the Tao Shan Banquet Hall for 90 of NPUST’s international students who will be spending their winter break on-campus. With decorations and traditional music setting the atmosphere, the students had a chance to get in the holiday mood and experience some of the customs associated with the festival. The students were joined by NPUST’s President Chang-Hsien Tai and his wife as well as Overseas Chinese Affairs Council representative, Po-Chin Chen, and several other distinguished guests. President Tai and Council Representative Chen each offered remarks and wished the students a successful year before the meal began. The students enjoyed a variety popular Chinese dishes together with a fabulous live song performance by the “Overseas Chinese Student Singing Competition” two-time champion from Malaysia, Tan Wai Teng. During the meal, President Tai made his rounds to hand out “red envelopes” to each of the students and wish them a happy and prosperous New Year. Lucky draws were held throughout the course of the event and awards were given to six students dressed in the “most festive red attire”. After lunch, an introduction to Chinese New Year “taboos” was presented by an Overseas Chinese student from Malaysia, followed by a trivia competition designed to test the students’ knowledge of Chinese New Year customs. NPUST currently has 750 international students from 46 countries on the roster. Although many of them head home or travel to other places during the break, for those who stick around to continue their research or spend their time off on-campus over the New Year, the university always holds a special celebration to let them experience Taiwan’s biggest holiday of the year and remind them that they are part of the NPUST family.
Agriculture Hall is Hit at “Technical Dream Factory” Exhibition
The Ministry of Education invited NPUST to be one of the 13 exhibiting universities at the “Technical Dream Factory” exhibition held at the Taipei Main Station on December 8th and 9th. The exhibition was divided into three main categories, including “New Technology”, “New Agriculture” and “New Ocean”, each of which was stationed in a separate hall. Visitor had a great time viewing the exhibits and taking part in the carefully prepared activities which made the event feel like a grand vocational education party. NPUST sent a total of five teams hailing from six departments to represent the university and showcase its successful research in “Smart Forestry Survey Technology”, “Friendly Smart Agriculture”, “Plant Medicine”, “New Farming”, and “Stationary Cycling”. Civil Engineering Professor Yu-Min Wang led the Friendly Smart Agriculture team. The group is currently conducting experiments on new rice cultivation techniques in southeastern Taiwan. For the exhibition, they transported 16 planters from the experimental crop field in Taichung to the Main Station in Taipei so that they would have real samples of the four stages of cultivation on display for the visitors to witness. The model that they have been experiencing success in involves applying friendly probiotic farming techniques with longer drying intervals and drones used for field management. Once the crop is harvested, on-site rice polishers are used to grind the rice until it is clean and white. At the exhibit, the team shared rice ice-cream and popcorn rice so visitors could learn about probiotics and friendly farming methods while enjoying delicious treats made from the fruits of their success. With a great deal of experience in the field, Forestry Professor Mei-hui Chen headed up the team that put on the very popular “New Agriculturalist” installment at the exhibition. Her team presented on creative restoration, under forest economies and ecotourism and showed off some of the under forest products they are focused on including mushrooms, honey and beeswax. Adding another element to the “new agriculture experience”, Professor Ning-Han Liu from the Department of Management had a stationary bike set up with virtual scenery taken from Guanshan, Taitung and Wutai, Pingtung. The experience allowed visitors to feel like a smart agriculturalist patrolling rice patties in Guanshan or hobby cyclist riding through the mountainous Wutai tribal area. Presenting on “Smart Forest Survey Technology”, Forestry Professor Chien-Chang Chen and his team captured a lot of attention with the four large aerial photo UAVs they brought to the exhibit. Visitors were provided with explanations of past and present survey techniques, forest management technology and personnel training so they could get a good perspective on the development and changes that are taking place in the industry. Perhaps the most popular exhibit of all, however, was on the topic of “Plant Medicine” headed up by Plant Medicine Assistant Professor Wen-Hua Chen. Worms, moths, lychee mites, flat-bellied bees, red-winged larvae – what more could you ask for? The likes of these were given the spotlight at the plant medicine installment so that visitors could have an “up-close and personal” with the types of pests that cause so many problems for agriculturalists working to bring food to our tables. The team educated visitors on pest prevention by explaining concepts related to the biological chain, and gave them an appreciation for the important roles proper use of pesticides and ecological control play in creating good environments and improving food safety. The two-day event at the Taipei Main Station was hosted by the Ministry of Education and executed by Taiwan University of Science and Technology. With such a rich variety of activities and excellent turnout, the event was a great success. It was also an excellent opportunity for NPUST to bring attention to the contributions it is making towards agriculture technology and will hopefully attract new students who want to take part in the next era of development in the agriculture industry.
At NPUST the Time for the “Plantaenarian” has Arrived
Goals to cut pesticide use in-half in ten years, improve food safety, and promote broader reaching environmental protection policies have already been laid out by the government—and one of the key components to the strategic approach is the implementation of a “Plant Doctor System”. In order to develop the necessary infrastructure in the southern part of Taiwan, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology has received subsidies from the government to establish a Plant Doctor Education Hospital which will be operated by the university’s plant medicine faculty. An opening ceremony and plaque unveiling for the new hospital was held on December 7th to mark the launch of its official operations. A number of government and industry representatives were invited to be present for the landmark occasion, including Director Hai-tung Feng of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine. NPUST Vice President for Administrative Affairs Chao-Lin Tuan, who hosted the event, explained that Taiwan is the first country in the world to establish a legally based plant doctor medical system. Animals have veterinarian medical systems; plants should have plant doctor or “plantaenarian” medical systems too, so that farmers have a system they can rely on to keep their crops healthy through medical diagnostics and disease prevention. These plant doctors will be called on to provide diagnostic services and consultancy. They will provide support and education on correct treatment, safe use of medicines, and disease prevention strategies, so that the agriculture industry will be able to achieve the goal of cutting pesticide use in-half within the next decade while also raising production value, contributing to the health safety of farmers, and providing peace of mind to consumers. Director Hai-tung Feng of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine explained that, in suit with Taiwan University, National Chung Hsing University and Chiayi University, NPUST has established a Plant Medicine Teaching Hospital. These facilities are now distributed uniformly from the north end to the south end of Taiwan. In addition to training talent, plant hospital operations involve interacting with farmers, publicizing the system and assisting farmers to create eco-friendly environments. They will serve as safeguards for healthy harvests and help dispel any doubts that consumers have towards food safety. They are creating opportunities to allow farmers, agricultural businesses, and the general public to get acquainted with plantaenarians and develop friendly relationships with this special breed of medical practitioner. The Assistant Professor Chen Wenhua, who oversees the university’s Plant Medicine Teaching Hospital, explained that the plant hospital has a regular reception desk where you can take a number, a medical records room, diagnostics lab, examination lab, plant medicine consultation office, and a classroom for plant medicine education. Currently, the Council of Agriculture is supporting two interning plant doctors who are responsible for outpatients, telephone registration, preliminary diagnosis and treatment consultations. During outpatient checkup hours, the entire faculty of the Department of Plant Medicine is on rotation to visit the patients; and if necessary, multiple professors will be called on at one time to provide comprehensive consultations. Every year, as part of a complete and comprehensive training regime, third-year, fourth-year and graduate students take part in special projects and clinical internships, both at the hospital and out in the field. Currently, the hospital is cooperating with the Wandan Council of Agriculture (red bean producers), providing periodical visitations to specific locations, consulting on the health management of featured crops, and assisting with the monitoring of diseases and pest outbreaks. By providing precise instruction on pesticides application, the frequency and quantity of pesticides can be reduced. A traceability system is also being promoted and farmers are encouraged to adopt friendly or organic crop production techniques so that ecosystems in agricultural areas can remain stable and the environment can keep healthy. Expectation are that NPUST’s Plant Medicine Education Hospital will become Southern Taiwan’s main center for healthy plant care.