Genesee Community College will join 21 other State University of New York campuses in opening SUNY doors to 150 students from the Sichuan Province of western China, the site of a massive earthquake in May. Eight students from the province will attend Genesee this fall.
The students will study full-time for two semesters at Genesee. Following their study at Genesee and other SUNY colleges, the Chinese students will return to Sichuan, where they have committed themselves to leading and assisting in the rebuilding of the province.
Genesee President Stuart Steiner said that Genesee's deep experience in serving international students made the College a "natural participant" in the program. "Over the last decade we have served some 500 students representing dozens of nations across the globe," he said. "Our faculty and staff has experience in meeting the needs of international students, and we are eager to welcome students from Sichuan Province in the fall. I am sure that their presence will enhance our campus community."
The Chinese students are expected to arrive at Genesee August 15 or 16. They will live at College Village, Genesee's student residence. Six of the students are male, and two are female. Six of the students are studying Engineering, one is studying Environmental Planning, and one is studying English.
The effort to serve these Chinese students is supported by local, state, and national leaders.
John Negroponte, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, was instrumental in facilitating the visa process for the students. SUNY Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Nicholas Rostow, who formerly served as General Counsel of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, is coordinating the program.
Gov. David Paterson said last weekend that "on behalf of all New Yorkers, we are pleased to welcome these students to our State University system and to ensure that there is no interruption in their college studies despite the tragic natural disaster that hit Chengdu in May. SUNY will provide these students with valuable leadership training, which will help prepare them to return to China to assist with rebuilding efforts and the aftermath of the earthquake."
Officials of the Chinese government have expressed hope that the program will result in new business and commercial ties between China and New York State. The Chinese Minister of Education, Zhou Ji, is a graduate of the University at Buffalo.
Tuition, fees, and housing costs are being paid by SUNY. The Chinese government is paying transportation costs for the students.