Colorado State University and its Confucius Institute send water experts to build relationships in China

Building upon CSU’s successful Chinese partnerships, University representatives traveled to China earlier this month to cultivate relationships related to water issues and research. The Confucius Institute at Colorado State University (CICSU) is a specialized Confucius Institute with a focus on Water and Environmental Sustainability (WES). As a part of its mission to support researchers and scientists look at world water issues, CICSU hosts two symposia each year, one in the United States and one in China. Two delegations traveled to China, the first included CSU leadership – Vice Provost for International Affairs Jim Cooney, Vice President for Outreach and Strategic Partnerships Lou Swanson, Assistant Provost of China Initiatives Wei Gao, and Director of the Colorado Water Institute Reagan Waskom. The second delegation included CSU WES representatives Drs. John Moore, Steven Fassnacht, Ed Hall, Lee MacDonald and researchers Chris Olson and Glenn Patterson.

While CSU leadership attended meetings with Chinese partner universities, the WES representatives traveled to Shanghai and Wuhan, collaborating on workshops and opening new joint research centers.

Strengthening ongoing relationships

In Shanghai, where CSU has historically strong educational ties with East China Normal University (ECNU), one of CSU’s five key strategic partners in China, the opening of a new ECNU-CSU research center focused on urban water issues was announced. Representatives from both universities participated in a symposium on urban water issues, jointly sponsored by CICSU and ECNU. During the Sino-USA Symposium on Urban Water Issues, participants exchanged information about stormwater management, flood control, and water quality in Shanghai, one of the 10 largest cities in the world. The CSU team visited Suzhou Creek in downtown Shanghai, which has been the focus for extensive restoration work, before visiting a local high school.

Developing connections throughout China

After visiting Shanghai, the WES group then traveled west to develop new relationships in Hubei Province’s capital city of Wuhan. At Central China Normal University (CCNU), CSU signed an agreement to establish a joint research center focused on aquatic environmental protection. Representatives from both universities then participated in the Sino-USA Symposium on Aquatic Environmental Protection. Topics included eutrophic lakes, remediation of toxic contaminants, effects of land use on water quality, and sustainability of ecosystem services.

Following the symposium, several members of the delegation accompanied Dr. Shao Yang, co-director of the new CCNU-CSU joint research center, to Dali in Yunnan Province, where they visited field sites related to the algal blooms that regularly occur in Lake Erhai. As a result of the visit, the CSU delegation looks forward to additional research collaborations, student and faculty exchanges, and other joint activities with our Chinese colleagues.