Alfred State College is one of 22 participating SUNY schools which will host a total of 150 Chinese students whose homes in Sichuan province were devastated by an earthquake in May.
The students, primarily sophomores and juniors, will arrive in the United States later this month, and will study for two semesters as full-time students at SUNY state-operated and community college campuses, beginning this fall. The goal is to build a team of young leaders based on their common experiences in the United States.
The 150 students were chosen after a careful review of their academic performance as well as English language testing conducted by a team of eight experienced English language teachers from across China. The selected students had to be Sichuan residents and were selected from four national universities under the leadership of the Ministry of Education in Beijing and from among several local/provincial colleges and universities in Sichuan. Students were assigned to various SUNY campuses through a sorting process that involved a team of experienced academic administrators. Assignments were made on the basis of student interests as well as the ability of the respective campuses to accommodate additional students from abroad in currently available spaces. There is no impact to current student enrollment or fall applications. Additionally, the State University has undertaken a fundraising drive so this initiative will not result in any costs to New York State taxpayers
When they return to China, these talented men and women from diverse Chinese ethnic groups will help re-build the local economy and infrastructure in the region the earthquake impacted. Each student has committed to return to China upon completion of the program in May/June 2009 and to a period of national service in Sichuan to help with the rebuilding effort.
The participating students include 53 men and 97 women and there are about 10 percent who are Chinese minorities, meaning they are from the Zang (Tibet) and Qiang ethnic groups. Among those living in the earthquake-affected areas, the Zang and Qiang minorities suffered a great deal.
Alfred State College will host two female students who will be enrolled in liberal arts programs. Dr. Shaojie Jiang, director, International Education at Alfred State College, will travel to New York City to escort the college's visiting students to their new home for the next academic year.
In the Pioneer spirit and tradition that is a part of Alfred State, campus employees are putting together a welcome basket for these two students to help them furnish their rooms, nourish their bodies and their spirits, and prepare them for our Western New York winters.
"We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to the victims of the devastating earthquake," said Dr. John M. Anderson, president, Alfred State College. "We hope their time here is not only productive, but also that it helps them begin to heal from the damaging effects, both physical and emotional, that they may have suffered from the disaster. We also look forward to the cultural exchange among our students and faculty, which will enhance the educational experience for them all."
The State University of New York has been involved with educational exchange and research collaborations with China and anticipates that this initiative will increase the connections between New York State and the Sichuan Province, leading to economic, educational, and cultural benefits.