When speaking of Chinese on campus, many jump to the reduction and potential elimination of Gustavus’s Chinese classes for the 2014-2015 academic year. For those upset with this decision, the Global China Connection could be a remedy.
Global China Connection (GCC) is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization for university students looking to engage China’s emergence as a global power. They connect future leaders from all nations and assist in developing skills necessary to succeed in China and internationally. GCC aims to develop deep and trusting personal relationships among Chinese and non-Chinese university students, as the world has become increasingly interdependent over the last decade.
The potential governing body for the Gustavus GCC chapter has applied for membership and will know by next fall if they have been approved. The current Chinese Culture Club would morph into a GCC chapter if membership were granted.
Visiting Chinese Language and Literature Instructor Shannon Cannella is excited for this new type of group to be on campus.
“The good thing about the membership and application process is that, because it’s based on a set of requirements, there becomes a standard for the types of activities and levels of participation required,” Cannella said.
Three events a semester are required, allowing Chinese culture to become much more visible on campus. Last week, the GCC chapter hopefuls, along with the Modern Languages, Literature, and Cultures Department, hosted Liu Zhenxiong, an artist from Hohot, Inner Mongolia. His talk and demonstration explored the place of writing and calligraphy in Chinese culture, from early wisdom of Confucius to the continued primacy of learning in Chinese culture today.
Sophomore Daniel Lee believes these types of events are crucial to a more globalized world and job market.
“Liu Zhenxiong’s demonstration presented a global view of China, and highlighted the differences between American and Chinese cultures. I liked the event because it gave me an inside look on part of what Chinese culture is – beautiful art, a set of traditions, and ancient Chinese beliefs,” Lee said.
The idea of globalization has become increasingly prevalent in modern society. One of the benefits of having a Global China Connection chapter on campus is the network of students members would be able to reach out to. There are currently more than sixty chapters globally, including ones at Carleton College and the University of Minnesota. Having a Gustavus chapter would allow for more regional events to be hosted in the Midwest.
Sophomore David Edholm is excited by the prospect of having a GCC chapter on campus to increase connections on and off campus.
“I like to think of the GCC as an advanced Chinese Culture Club. A typical culture club does not have the connection with international Chinese students like GCC does. Also, GCC emphasizes Asian Studies and International Business careers, and we hope to connect with other colleges nationwide,” Edholm said.
Edholm also believes in the importance of encouraging and understanding diversity.
“I think it is important for Gusties to learn about a new perspective because there are many different cultures in the world to learn from. Chinese culture has so much to offer, like teaching hard work and strong relationships with family. It is important that Gusties have the chance to learn about a culture outside of our own so we can continue to grow,” Edholm said.