Ever wanted to try something exciting, but could never find a good chance to do so? XGravity might be offering the experience you have been looking for.
Started by HKU undergrads, for HKU undergrads, the club aims to combine the thrill of adventure sports with a message of social change in order to create unforgettable learning opportunities for students with a penchant for the outdoors.
Christina Tong, a second-year Biochemistry major and the founder of XGravity, said that campus activities held at HKU lacked diversity due to their highly academic or career-focused nature.
Having grown up in Canada, Tong was involved in a variety of physical activities that kept her busy throughout the year. Soon after moving to China with her parents however, she experienced a different culture and attitude towards sports. In Asia, sports weren’t “taken as seriously as say, instruments or academics”, and she felt the need to introduce a more active sporting culture to the Hong Kong community and the university student body.
During an independent group hike up Kilimanjaro last summer, Tong observed the distinct lack of Asian participants, compelling her to create a platform where she and her peers could participate in outdoor experiences together.
Founded in September 2015, the club organizes activities both within the city and abroad. Their first international trip to Nepal, which took place during the past winter break, took place with much success. “We hope to take students to places they wouldn’t otherwise go to on their own,” she explained.
Not only do participants make personal gains from their experiences on such trips, they also make a point to give back to the community they’ve benefited from. The Nepal trip wasn’t just a hiking excursion, it was an opportunity to help build a community centre in a town ravaged by the 2015 earthquake and recent oil shortages in the country.
“I think it helps participants care more [about developing communities] and make them more curious about the local culture,” said Tong, referring to community work as a means to immerse oneself fully into a new environment.
The club has also organized a number of smaller trips this semester, for example, a hike in Yangshuo this Reading Week.
“We’re still new,” Tong says, adding that the team has a long way to go in improving its organizational structure and widening the scope and diversity of its participants.
Nepal was the first step for XGravity towards organizing major international adventure trips for the HKU community. Their next goal; a summer trip to Mount Kilimanjaro.