Wendy Lang, 2013, Chemical Engineering
For Princeton in Asia’s fifth Summer of Service program, ten Princeton undergraduate students traveled to Hunan province in China this past summer to teach in an English immersion program for college students at Jishou University’s Normal College. The city of Jishou is a small city that has grown tremendously over the years and continues to experience economic, lifestyle, and environmental changes that are similar to many cities across China today. While surveying Jishou and neighboring natural attractions in Hunan, the Princeton teachers incorporated lessons, discussions, and activities concerning the environment in both classroom and extracurricular settings. Within the Summer of Service program, we organized a Princeton-in-Jishou Earth Day, which was a day of promoting environmental awareness during which students shared projects, videos, and presentations they had created throughout the program addressing Jishou’s environmental issues such as water pollution, food and agriculture, waste, conservation, and alternative energy options. Students were also encouraged to develop ideas of their own for raising environmental awareness in their communities, and environmental scholarships were to students who had developed outstanding proposals and initiatives with strong ecological and educational components. We coordinated additional activities to cultivate environmental consciousness and conservation efforts such as an Outdoors Club, which gave Jishou students opportunities to share the natural and man-made surroundings of the city to the Princeton teachers. The exchanges between Princeton and Jishou students and opportunities to develop initiatives to support environmental education and action in Jishou made for a motivating and meaningful summer of service in Asia.