University of St. Thomas “Gathering to Give” Promotes Taiwan

PHOTO: (left) Director Sophie Chou of Education Division of TECO in Houston and (right) President Max Castroparedes of CLCS at the University of St. Thomas pose for a photo in front of a Study in Taiwan banner

By Isabelle Chen
November 28, 2017

The president of a student club at the University of St. Thomas (UST), Max Castroparedez, showed up with almost Disneyesque smiles on his face at the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Houston at an early day of the 2017 Fall Semester for college students. He carried a big mission on his shoulders and was looking for sponsorship for an event on advertising the Chinese Language and Culture Association (CLCA) that he presides as a university freshman.

After gathering Max’s plans about promoting his club and details on the logistics for the event, TECO in Houston couldn’t be happier to support this exceptionally positive young man with great passions for the Chinese language he barely speaks as well as the culture he experiences solely through his Taiwanese friends. The event targeted on introducing Chinese language and Taiwanese cultures to students, faculty/staff of UST, and local communities.

The event date was set in September before the infamous Hurricane Harvey hit Houston at the end of August 2017. In the wake of Harvey, Max’s family became one of the thousands of households affected by the Storm. His family’s house was severely flooded that not only did they have to list the house but also lost literally everything to the flood. Rebuilding and getting back to a normal life takes time and money. Max even had to work three jobs to overcome the financial challenge caused by the flooding but he was not back away from making the event happen during his first semester at the UST. Despite all of the challenges, for the following four months, Max still presented himself at every meeting with TECO with same huge smiles on his face.

After Max’s restless hard works, the event was finally taken place on November 9 at the Campus Life Mall of UST, named “GATHERING TO GIVE”. All of its proceedings were to go to Harvey relief funds to support victims of the Storm. The event took its initial objective to the next level by reacting to the occurrence of a natural disaster in helping people in need to go through difficult times.

People showed up at the event to show their support for the Club, the Language, the Culture, and the Initiative. Foods couldn’t be tastier, the language couldn’t be friendlier, cultures couldn’t be closer, the message couldn’t be more powerful when people gather to give and care for each other. The event concluded with approximately 300 participants and received about US$3,500 monetary donations.

PHOTO: Display of the advertisement materials for Study in Taiwan

Photo: Dr. Richard Ludwick (center), president of University of St. Thomas attends the event

Photo: (left) Director Sophie Chou of Education Division of TECO in Houston, (center) Professor Yao-Yuan Yeh of Taiwan Study Program, and (right) Director Hans Stockton of the Center for International Studies at the University of St. Thomas present to support the event

Photo: Participants get in line for the Boba milk tea

Photo: Participants get in line for the Boba milk tea