The president of a university in Ho Chi Minh City has been accused of wastefulness building an artificial pine tree on the campus, whereas a university officer claims that both his school and alumni provide the fund for it.
The school has allowed and supported the students in decorating the ‘smart pine tree’ for Christmas and New Year for the last four years, in line with its principles of education, according to Dr. Do Van Dung, president of the university.
Those principles are making students feel proud of their school, helping international students remember their New Year and the school integrate into the world, and creating opportunities for students of different majors to innovate.
“The pine tree of this year was designed by the students themselves who are from many majors like mechatronics, automation, engineering cybernetics, wood industry, architecture, and graphic design,” Dr. Dung said.
“That’s multi-sectoral cooperation in a digital era.”
The so-called ‘smart pine tree’ for Christmas and New Year is being planted at the campus of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education.
“During the building process, our students have learned a lot of necessary skills and a bit of knowledge,” Dr. Tran Thanh Thuong, an admissions and student affairs officer, said.
“Those students only carry out their work at night therefore it does not interfere with their study.
“They are also paid for participating in making the tree, which is about VND30,000 [US$1.3] per hour.”
This 11-meter high pine tree was assembled by 20 students in front of the school’s central building.
The tree has a 64-channel control system, programmed with various LED lights which can change color and light intensity along with music and time.
The ‘smart pine tree’ is being built at a cost of VND45 million ($1,932), covered by the school and alumni, Dr. Thuong added.
However, many comments on the school’s Facebook Page said, “The school administration should discard the pine tree and not resort to any excuse to preach us. The school needs to teach properly and ethically instead of going to make this unwanted tree.”
“The pine trees for New Year are like peach and apricot blossoms for Vietnam’s Lunar New Year. It also symbolizes evergreens because the green color lasts forever in the cold winter. Therefore, the New Year tree of our school is pine but also not pine. It is an innovative technology product of our students,” Dr. Dung explained.