"As a volunteer for the horticulture expo, I feel proud to participate in a process of helping visitors better understand the concept of living green," said the confident young man who stood 1.8 meters tall, smiling as he worked at the media center.
Bian Peng, 20, is a sophomore majoring in Spanish at Beijing Foreign Studies University. He works in a team providing booking services for both domestic and foreign journalists at the media center for the 2019 Beijing Horticulture Expo, which opened April 28.
"From the wall of plants in the media center to the floral decorations here, I indeed learned how the green concept can be adapted into our real lives." This made him feel that his volunteer experience at the expo is something different and meaningful.
Bian was also grateful to forge friendships with other volunteers, particularly at the volunteers' home, which can accommodate 696 people.
During the expo's 162-day run, 20,000 volunteers from 47 higher institutions, 60 companies and 16 districts will participate in its operations and tourist services. Every day, nearly 600 volunteers will work at the same time. Each volunteer will provide service no less than seven consecutive days, according to Meng Xianqing, deputy head of the volunteer department at the expo's coordination bureau.
As the expo lasts for months, the organizer also recruited 2,000 general volunteers and 150 professional ones majoring in foreign languages, media and telecommunications in reserve for any emerging needs, he said.
Xu Qing, 25, began to work as a volunteer in the expo park since its trial operation period. This instance, where he happened to work in a booth near the No 3 gate, marked his third time providing volunteer services for the expo.
Xu is from the Century College of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, which sits 11 kilometers away from the park in Yanqing district.
"Volunteers from our college commute by shuttle every day. We usually get up at 5:20 am and get on the shuttle at 6 am," he said, "but I feel more proud than tired here as, through our volunteer work, we are presenting Beijing's achievements in ecological development to the world."
Though brief, the interview with him was interrupted many times by a variety of inquiries from tourists passing by, reflecting the critical need for people like Xu.
In the park, there are many such volunteers who have received training to provide route guidance, first aid service and introductions to the pavilions, and have also learned how to deal with certain emergencies.
The expo also serves as an ideal classroom for young volunteers to better understand Xi Jinping's thoughts on ecological development and practicing green concepts to build a beautiful China, said Meng.
His words were echoed by Wang Wanlu after she, as one of 100 volunteer representatives, attended the welcoming ceremony for state leaders.
"I was really thrilled to watch the grand ceremony actually happening right before me. It inspired me a lot," said Wang. The 22-year-old is a senior majoring in landscape gardening at Beijing Forestry University and works as a volunteer near the United Arab Emirates Pavilion.
"President Xi's speech will guide my academic life and career. He said we should pursue scientific spirit in ecological governance, which I think is particularly meaningful for students in my major," she said, envisioning the future.
Her young face pair well with the white-and-blue uniforms, made of eco-friendly material and designed with elements of the expo, such as the butterfly-shaped International Pavilion.