Collegiate Seniors and Chinese Students Collaborate on Real-World Issues

Collegiate School's 12 guest students from China ended their weeklong visit to campus today by participating in design thinking presentations with Collegiate seniors who are enrolled in the International Emerging Leaders - Asia Capstone class.
The 12 Collegiate students worked in small groups throughout the week with the students from Beijing New Oriental Foreign Language School, Collegiate's partner school in Yangzhou, China, to explore the future of China-U.S. economic relations while simultaneously devising mock solutions to pressing issues.

The entire group of students spent the week learning how to collaborate, and visiting Richmond-area sites such as the University of Richmond, VCU and also WestRock, a Richmond-based global company with business holdings in China, where they discussed American and Chinese business challenges and trends with a particular focus on the war on plastic.

During today's presentations, the students, paired off into five teams, shared how they jointly selected a specific issue to explore and resolve. Their ideas ranged from offering ways to reduce the consumption of poached marine life in Hong Kong for a delicacy called shark fin soup to providing access to healthier foods for Americans living in low-income neighborhoods to teaching and rewarding teens in Shanghai to recycle with the help of an innovative app.

Sherry Zhang, a corporate development manager with Genworth Financial, and Steve Louie, an executive partner with the College of William & Mary's School of Business, served as guest panelists for the presentations. Having both worked extensively in China over the course of their careers, they applauded the students' savvy in choosing relevant issues to examine.

Trina Clemans, Collegiate’s Director of Economic and Entrepreneurship Education who teaches the IEL - Asia course, said the students' efforts resulted in "a week of learning and sharing and growing together."

Anne M. Rusbuldt, Program Facilitator for Collegiate's Institute for Responsible Citizenship, agreed: "It was reciprocal. There were so many soft skills they learned that will help them all be global leaders."

The Chinese students return home tomorrow, but will see their Collegiate friends again in March, when the Collegiate students travel to China for a week.
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