Oct 172011
Authors: Andrew Carrera

CSU and four Chinese universities announced a million-dollar partnership with each other Monday as part of a greater effort by the two groups to burnish themselves as global leaders in key fields of study.

The partnership is in the form of the Water Scholars Program –– a competitive scholarship opportunity that will help pay for Chinese students to receive an education on water stewardship at CSU.

Open to just four students in total, the program will accept applicants from East China Normal University (ECNU), Anhui Agricultural University, China Agricultural University and Guizhou University.

“What we’re doing is forming the right partnerships that in turn will bring with them the right kind of reputation and image,” said Thomas Milligan, vice president for external relations at CSU.

The Water Scholars Program is the latest in a series of moves CSU and the Chinese universities have made in order to create key connections with prestigious institutions.

CSU currently has 15 strategic partnerships throughout the world, including one with ECNU, a participating party to the new partnership.

The university already has 37 students enrolled at CSU, earning bachelor’s degrees while receiving more than $300,000 in annual scholarship support from CSU. The first group of ECNU students will complete their degrees in May 2012.

“CSU has been an international institution since the 1950s,” Milligan said. “We were the guys who in a lot of ways started the Peace Corps. As we look to continue (being an international institution) and being successful, it’s really important to form the right partnerships and the right alliances.”

The Water Scholars Program is funded by Coca-Cola Refreshments –– which associated itself with CSU in a business agreement this June –– as a way to honor its expressed commitment to environmental sustainability.

As it stands, the new partnership will increase Chinese students’ resource management understanding and style CSU as an international authority on the subject.

In China, an understanding in water is highly valuable. As the nation rapidly industrializes, it faces immense challenges in terms of water pollution, quality and access to rural areas, which motivates Chinese universities to establish relationships with schools across the world that have a deep understanding of water management.

“Internationalization is one of our top priorities at East China Normal University, and the partnership with Colorado State University is one of our closest relationships,” said ECNU President Yu Lizhong in a press release.

CSU considers itself to be a world leader in water issues, with its commitment to the subject spans over 125 years. With more than 160 faculty and research scientists focused on water questions and problems, the university says it provides one of the strongest water stewardship educations worldwide.

Partnering with prestigious Chinese universities through the Water Scholars Program, Milligan said, would further CSU’s efforts in this field.

“In the longer term, you can’t tackle the larger problems in terms of research … in a global sense unless you’re engaging China,” Milligan said.

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

By the numbers

Program funding, provided by Coca-Cola Refreshments

The number of Chinese scholars allowed in the program for the next two years

The number of Chinese universities allowed to send students to the program for the next two years

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