In May 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the Obama administration’s 100,000 Strong Initiative in Beijing. This effort aims to increase the number of U.S. students and the diversity of those students studying in China. And the effort will help prepare the next generation of leaders who will be charged with managing the growing political, economic and cultural ties between the U.S. and China.
Dr. Leonard N. Moore, DDCE associate vice president for academic diversity and civic engagement initiatives, and his team at the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence immediately got excited about the possibilities. They realized a study abroad experience in China would give first-generation students and students from diverse backgrounds the competitive edge needed in the global economy.
Moore says, “We don’t create students who change the world by just sitting in the classroom. We believe our students will change the world.”
Moore and Dr. Ge Chen, assistant vice president for academic diversity initiatives, applied for and received a grant from the Coca Cola Foundation which provides generous scholarship assistance to first-generation college students for the Maymester program. The course “Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S. and China” provides the opportunity for students to partner with individuals and organizations to help families create self-sustaining, revenue-generating businesses with the goal of lifting them out of poverty. Students will also volunteer at the Dandelion School, a middle school for migrant workers in the city.
“We’ve got to get students to pursue what they are passionate about,” says Dr. Leonard Moore, associate vice president for academic diversity and civic engagement initiatives. “Our challenge: how do we turn students loose intellectually so they will pursue their passions?” Moore and Chen believe Study Abroad is the answer and that the civic-minded students will come up with “incredible solutions” to help communities become more self-sustaining. More than 120 students applied for the program; 40 were accepted.
Read more about the program on the UT KNOW site.