UW-Green Bay and Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China, share 34 years of history.
This week (August 21-24, 2018), nine undergraduate and graduate students from Normal University’s School of the Environment (SOE) led by faculty member Ouyang Wei are exploring UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee on a cultural and environmental sciences exchange tour.
It started with a graduate student from China, Yue Rong, who arrived on campus in 1984 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science. Rong, a graduate of Beijing Normal University (BNU), was interested in UW-Green Bay’s environmental science program led him to (now retired) Prof. Emeritus Robert Wenger’s office. After several meetings and conversations, Wenger agreed to be Rong’s major professor. Rong graduated with a M.S. degree in May of 1986. He continued his path to University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to earn a Ph.D. degree in Public Health, and after that landed a job at the California Water Authority.
In 1985, while still a student at UW-Green Bay, Rong’s former professors from China paid him a visit. Wenger hosted the three professors who were starting a master’s program in environmental science at BNU. Wenger was invited back to serve as a visiting professor at BNU and spent a year teaching a graduate class at the Institute of Environmental Sciences (IES) at BNU from 1987 to 1988. During his time at BNU, he also helped to organize the International Symposium on Environmental Impact Assessment sponsored by IES, held in October 1987 in Beijing.
The exchange of knowledge, research and personnel has continued through all these years between the two universities. The first UW-Green Bay student was accepted to SOE’s Master’s Program was Anthony Sirianni. He graduated with a M.S. in July of 2017 and stayed at BNU to learn the Chinese language. This sparked an interest in a formal relationship between the two schools to promote student exchanges and other activities. In October 2017, UW-Green Bay’s Brent Blahnik (Office of International Education) and professors Kevin Fermanich, Le Zhu, Mathew Dornbush and Wenger traveled to Beijing to discuss with faculty at SOE about a proposed formal exchange agreement.
Which brings us to this week’s visit… and a warm welcome to UW-Green Bay!
Story by student Roosa Turenen. Photo by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication.