1. I am happy to report that four new student residential blocks on Lung Wah Street in Kennedy Town are close to completion. Three blocks will be ready for student accommodation before the beginning of the academic year, and the last block in early October.
2. The Senate approved in Dec 2010 a proposal to set up a Residential College in each block. Each Residential College will house about 450 students, and 1,800 students in total, with roughly a 70:30 ratio between undergraduates and postgraduates in 2012-3 and 50:50 from 2013-4 onwards. Non-local students will constitute about two-thirds of all residents.
3. We envision that these new Residential Colleges will represent a new form of residential education while continuing in the best traditions of on-campus living here at HKU. They will have some unique characteristics: strong intellectual and academic atmosphere to closely integrate residential and scholarly life, vibrant cultural and intellectual exchanges, and active community engagement through experiential and service learning.
4. I am very pleased to inform you that the Vice-Chancellor has approved the appointment of the following inaugural Masters: Professor Yuen-Ying Chan (陳婉瑩教授), Director and Professor, Journalism and Media Studies Centre; Professor Chack-Fan Lee (李焯芬教授), Director, HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education; Professor Gabriel M Leung (梁卓偉教授), Professor and Head, Department of Community Medicine; and Dr. Sarah Liao (廖秀冬博士), Acting Director, The Kadoorie Institute.
5. The Residential Colleges will face some initial challenges, including a slight delay in final completion due to various unanticipated construction factors beyond our direct control. We are taking all necessary measures to ensure students will have a pleasant and safe living environment. For instance, we have taken measures to ensure maximum ventilation of all student rooms and living areas and tests will be conducted to closely monitor indoor air quality before students move in. Regarding water quality, recent microbiological tests for Legionella have all returned negative results (i.e., normal). We will of course continue to closely monitor water quality. Before catering service is in place later on in the year, students may prepare simple meals in the pantry on each floor, or dine out on the Main Campus or in the neighbourhood. There will be shuttle bus service to the Main Campus.
6. We wish to thank members of the University and the community for their continuous support to the Residential Colleges. We are particularly grateful for the kind understanding of local students who may need to move in later so that newly arrived non-local students with immediate housing needs can be accommodated first. With your help and support, we are confident that we will overcome the initial challenges and the Residential Colleges will be a nourishing ground for students to grow and contribute to the community.
Professor SP Chow
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (University Relations)
Chairman, Governance Committee of Residential Colleges