Global Gateway scholars return from China


Thirty UNL students and six faculty returned May 27 from a 12-day trip to China, with stops in Shanghai and neighboring textile and apparel production centers in Suzhou and Wuxi.

The trip was one of three 2010 UNL Global Gateway projects, with underwriting provided by the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The study tour was led by Textiles, Clothing and Design faculty Yiqi Yang, Barbara Trout and department chair Michael James. Additional faculty taking part were Amy Struthers, associate professor of Journalism and Mass Communications; Richard Bischoff, associate professor of Child, Youth and Family Studies; and Wendy Weiss, professor of Textiles, Clothing and Design.

During the spring semester, the six faculty and student participants completed a reading seminar to better understand the destination country and its culture and people.

Yang organized the trip with help from colleagues at Donghua University in Shanghai and Jiangnan University in Wuxi. The 12-day schedule included visits to several textile and apparel production facilities and factories, including Wuxi Fuji Fashion Wear Col, Ltd. and Heilan Group Inc., the largest wool suiting manufacturer in China.

Tour stops included the World Expo 2010; the Shanghai Apparel Mart's International Apparel Fair; Shanghai Donglong, a manufacturer of down apparel and products; the Shanghai and Suzhou Museums; several famed traditional gardens including Yu Yuan Gardens in Shanghai and the Humble Administrator's Garden in Suzhou; and the Imperial Temple in Wuxi, a compound of Buddhist temples and sub-temples dating to the Ming dynasty.

The group also participated in a joint UNL-Jiangnan runway show, which featured students from both universities modeling garments designed and made by the students. The exchange also offered the students the opportunity to meet one-on-one and share their experiences as textile and apparel majors in their respective universities.

"I was very proud of our UNL undergraduates and how they conducted themselves throughout the tour," said Yang. "They knew how to present themselves professionally and were great ambassadors for the university."

The China Study Tour was the Department of Textile, Clothing and Design's first to Asia. Department leaders hope to expand the future study destinations to Japan and Korea which, like China, are major Pacific Rim textile and apparel production centers.

- By Michael James, Textiles, Clothing and Design