“Headwaters” – The Department of Communication Studies’ Graduation Exhibition: A Showcase of Infinite Innovation and the Quest for the Source of Vitality


Graduates from the Department of Communication Studies, embodying a rich tapestry of nationalities and cultures, recently presented their much-anticipated graduation exhibition, “Headwaters.” Held between December 13th and 15th, 2023 in the Da Ai Building on the Main Campus, the event was a vibrant display of the students’ four-year academic and creative voyage. Each student’s project, akin to a unique ocean current, followed its distinct path. Yet, when viewed collectively, these works merged into a beautiful confluence, symbolizing both the unity and diversity of their shared educational journey.

The graduation exhibition, titled “Headwaters,” represents the beginning of a watercourse, a metaphor for the origin of ideas and creativity. The students, each with their unique approach within their chosen field, embody the ever-flowing nature of water – a symbol of their constant stream of creativity and thought. In the realm of communication, like water, they demonstrate versatility, being both tranquil and dynamic, adeptly adapting to the shifting environment around them. They aspire to offer the public an exceptional experience, venturing into uncharted territories of communication and exploration.

The exhibition, featuring four key themes: “Ripple – Print Magazine,” “Flowing Sounds – Broadcasting,” “Flowing Shadows – Photography,” and “Source Movement – Marketing,” showcased a rich array of categories including audiovisuals, books, public relations marketing, and issue exploration, presenting a total of 27 distinct pieces. The opening ceremony was graced by Vice President Yun-Chi Ho, Director Shing-Ling Fan Chiang of the Hualien County Government, Ya-Wen Wu from the Hualien County Youth Development Center, Wei-San Sun, Chair of the Department of Communication Studies, Professor Chi-Horng Liao, and event organizer Bo-Ru Chen. Together, they performed a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, marking the event’s successful inauguration.

Director Shing-Ling Fan Chiang of the Hualien County Government, representing Hualien County Magistrate Chen-Wei Hsu, attended the event to offer her congratulations. She expressed great pleasure in seeing such a heartfelt graduation exhibition. Director Fan Chiang praised the students of Tzu Chi University for their outstanding achievements, applauding their efforts in turning four years of education into a remarkable showcase. She shared her joy at students choosing Hualien for their studies and returning to their home areas enriched, with hopes that they would further enhance and share the expertise, knowledge, and compassion acquired in Hualien. Furthermore, she expressed her aspiration for more young talent to remain in Hualien and contribute to its development.

Vice President Yun-Chi Ho commenced her address by extending heartfelt thanks to the faculty of the Department of Communication Studies for their dedicated mentorship and guidance. She highlighted three principal themes of the graduation exhibition: First, it served as a holistic display of the students’ achievements, showcasing not just their academic strides but also their overall personal development, laying the groundwork for their future endeavors. Second, the exhibition emphasized the critical role of teamwork and effective communication, essential competencies for students transitioning into the workforce. This was particularly pertinent for Communication Studies students, marking a significant phase in their growth. Third, the event acted as a conduit for students to establish connections with a variety of individuals, encouraging them to appreciate every interaction, as these relationships could be pivotal in their lives.

The students’ growth and progress were mirrored clearly in their projects, eloquently capturing their educational odyssey. Vice President Ho then touched upon their prospective journeys, noting that whether they choose to stay in Hualien or explore opportunities elsewhere, Hualien would always be their fundamental source, akin to a nurturing spring. She expressed her hope that the Department of Communication Studies, their alma mater, would remain a place they often revisit after graduation.

Chief event organizer Bo-Ru Chen reflected on how the pandemic in 2020 significantly altered the global landscape, disrupting everyday life and creating physical distance between people. It was as though the world had plunged into a lengthy tunnel. Yet, he stressed that this phase was transient. Amid this darkness, he noted, there was always a drive to move towards the light, mirroring how the students have steadfastly supported each other during these trying times. Additionally, on behalf of the graduating class, he extended sincere thanks to the Tzu Chi Culture and Communication Foundation, the University, and various distinguished leaders for their invaluable support and assistance in making the graduation exhibition possible.

“Turning Stones into Gold” is an innovative board game created by students Yu-Xuan Huang and Pei-Yuan Wu, developed from repurposed waste materials from the local stone industry. This educational game focuses on environmental themes and introduces players to the distinctive landscapes and geological formations of Taiwan, including Taroko Gorge, Turtle Island, Nanya Peculiar Rocks, Jinguashi, and Moon World. The game is designed to engage children, fostering a connection with these sites while efficiently educating them about geology and rock formation. Recognized for its creative and educational value, “Turning Stones into Gold” has garnered financial support and awards from the “2023 Hualien Young Dreamers Proposal Competition” and the “Youth Initiative for Local Industry Engagement,” highlighting its successful blend of learning and environmental stewardship.

“Building A Loving-Care Dream” is a documentary crafted by Zhao-Yu Tsai, Yu-Yang Tsai, and Wei-Huan Zhou, students with a passion for storytelling. It delves into the life of Mr. Hong-You Chong, an entrepreneur with roots in Taoyuan. His career path led him from a project role in an international company at the iconic Taipei 101, to a pivotal change where he relocated to Hualien for a public relations position at a family support center. In a significant move in 2021, Mr. Chong established “Shi Shu,” an initiative designed to support Hualien’s local farmers by marketing their vegetables. Notably, the enterprise employs eco-friendly leaf-based packaging, a choice that reflects Mr. Chong’s deep dedication to environmental sustainability. The documentary captures his remarkable story and the ethos behind his business.

“Children Have a Dream,” created by Ying-Xin Wu, is a poignant picture book that delves into the experiences of children who have been witnesses to domestic violence. Ying-Xin drew upon her direct interactions with these children and her in-depth interviews at the Flying Association for Care to authentically portray their deep thoughts and life experiences. This book transcends simple storytelling by providing valuable insights into how to offer support to these affected children.

Ying-Xin’s primary goal with this creation is to bring attention to the often ignored inner lives of children caught in such challenging situations. To magnify the impact of her book, Ying-Xin embarked on an innovative project. She collaborated with students from Tzu Chi Senior High School, Tzu Chi Junior High School, and Tzu Chi Elementary School, who adapted the picture book into a radio drama. This inventive method was designed to offer a more vivid and empathetic perspective on the emotional journeys of these affected children.

Following publication of the book, Ying-Xin’s involvement in the project significantly bolstered her dedication to children’s welfare. This led her to commit more time to volunteering at the association and to persist in her advocacy efforts for children in difficult circumstances.

“Hi! Play City” is an engaging project undertaken by three students, Jun-Liang Zheng, Zhu Yuan-Xiang Zhu, and Yu-Chen Dong, who have stayed in Hualien for almost four years. Their journey took them to the vibrant and multifaceted life in Taipei, offering a stark contrast to their previous experiences in Hualien. The project vividly captures their personal encounters with Taipei’s dynamic, bustling streets and its atmosphere brimming with hopeful aspirations. Through their stories and reflections, “Hi! Play City” explores the contrasting rhythms and lifestyles of these two distinct Taiwanese cities, highlighting the unique pace and energy of each.

In addition to the projects already mentioned, the “Headwaters” exhibition showcased an array of fascinating and innovative topics and media. The event was an invitation to all to immerse themselves in the collaborative energy and creativity displayed. The exhibition took place from December 13 to December 15, 2023. It was open each day from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with the final day concluding earlier at 2:00 PM. This engaging exhibition was hosted on the first floor of the Da-Ai Building on the Main Campus.