Twenty students from Bennett College are now in China to conduct research and learn more about clean energy. This all-expenses paid trip is part of the 100,000 Strong initiative by the Wanxiang Group, a multinational automotive components manufacturing company headquartered in Hangzhou.
The students departed June 30 and return July 14. They are accompanied by Lee Todhunter, interim director of the Bennett College Center for Global Studies; and Michelle Linster, dean of the Division of Sciences and Mathematics.
Clean Energy Research
The program is designed for female students interested in learning more about the development and application of clean energy.Â The Bennett College students will conduct clean energy research in collaboration with participating female Chinese students both during the trip and after their return to the U.S.Â Their research reports are due one year after completing the program in China.
â€œOver the last three years, 155 Bennett students have engaged in an international exchange, making our strategic goal of global acumen a reality,â€ said Bennett College President Rosalind Fuse-Hall. â€œThis work certainly enriches the life of the campus.â€
During the two-week trip, students will participate in seminars on the history, language, and social and economic development of China, as well as the teachings of ancient Chinese philosophers.Â The seminars, which include visits to clean energy facilities, will also address the development and application of various types of clean energy in China.
The students are also touring cultural attractions in China and attending sports and entertainment events.
100,000 Strong Foundation
This program is supported by the 100,000 Strong Foundation, a not-for-profit created as a result of the U.S. State Department initiative of President Barack Obama that calls for 100,000 American students to engage with China.Â The Wanxiang Group partnered with the city of Chicago to set up the first program; it has also partnered with two delegations of students from HBCUs; colleges such as Northwestern University and the University of Chicago; and the Congressional Black Caucus.
â€œThis program provides an immersive experience, exposing our students to the culture and language of the most populous country in the world, and allowing them to gain valuable research skills that they will bring back to Bennett to share with the entire campus,â€Â said Todhunter. â€œFully funded opportunities are rare and Bennett is so fortunate to have formed this partnership.â€
â€œI am so grateful that I will have this opportunity to go to China at no cost and bring back knowledge about clean energy,â€Â said Shani McMichael, a sophomoreÂ from Dayton, Ohio, before leaving for China. â€œThis will be my first time traveling outside of the country.Â I hope to gain knowledge on how Bennett can reduce its energy costsâ€¦.â€
This story originally appeared on HBCU Buzz. It is reprinted here with permission.