University of Chicago and China's Wanxiang America Corporation signed an agreement on Tuesday, opening the door for 30 undergraduate students to work and study green technology in China this June, as part of the Wanxiang Ambassador Fellows program.
The students will learn Chinese language and be exposed to Chinese culture and clean energy initiatives sponsored by Wanxiang America Corporation, a major green technology manufacturer. The program is part of the 100,000 Strong Initiative launched by U.S. government, a national effort to increase the number and diversity of American students studying in China.
University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer and Pin Ni, President of Wanxiang America Corporation, signed a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony to mark the launch of the program. Also speaking at the event were Zhao Weiping, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago, and Richard M. Daley, former Mayor of Chicago and former Co-Chair of President Obama's 100,000 Strong Initiative.
With financial support from Wanxiang America, the University's Office of Career Advancement will administer the program, engaging students in Chinese language and cultural studies, and offer them an opportunity to work on the development of sustainable green energy technologies.
"This opportunity for students in our College to learn and work on issues of real importance, in the context of China's fast- growing energy sector, contributes an important piece to the University's deepening engagement in China," Zimmer said. "We are grateful to Wanxiang for supporting this collaboration and helping to enrich our students' education."
Students from the university will first visit the Wanxiang America Corporation headquarters in Elgin, Illinois, before traveling to Hangzhou, China. Students will reside at the Wanxiang Polytechnic College during the six-week program, which will include organized, experiential field trips to a solar farm, an electric vehicle factory, and an energy storage station; clean energy and sustainability studies; and a chance to visit the Wanxiang laboratories and meet with its researchers.
"I am very pleased to collaborate with the University of Chicago, and to give its students more opportunities to study in China," Ni said, adding "My hope is that they will learn about Chinese culture and clean energy science through this program."
The Wanxiang Ambassador Fellows Program is part of the University's Jeff Metcalf Internship Program, named in honor of Harold "Jeff" Metcalf, who was Dean of Students at the Graduate School of Business from 1956 to 1975 and Director of Athletics from 1976 to 1981.