Two students discuss their outlooks on the sister campus
Published: Monday, February 24, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 24, 2014 17:02
Two students witnessed history Thursday at the groundbreaking for A-State’s new satellite campus, ASU-Querétaro.
The sister campus in Querétaro, Mexico, makes A-State the first American university to have a base in Mexico.
Stephanie “Stevie” Overby and Wade Shapp represented the ASU-Jonesboro student population at a groundbreaking ceremony attended by thousands of Mexican and American statesmen, including Querétaro Gov. Jose Calzada Rovirosa, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne, and Arkansas State University Chancellor Tim Hudson.
“Before I visited Querétaro I did not have a clue the magnitude of this project,” said Overby, a senior biology and animal science major of Little Rock. “After having been and seen first hand just how much of an impact this will have on us in Arkansas and those in Mexico, I am ecstatic about this incredible opportunity for A-State.”
ASU-Q has been in the works since fall of 2012. The land purchased for the school encompasses 2,000 acres in the state of Querétaro, which lies just north of Mexico City.
“The space for the campus is nice,” said Shapp, who is a junior sports management and marketing major of Indianapolis, In. “It’s about 45 minutes from the city (of Querétaro). The plan is to grow the campus into the city or give the campus area to expand in the future.”
The campus will cater to local and foreign students, and feature classes taught in English by Arkansas State University-approved faculty members. Querétaro’s cosmopolitan location and thriving outlying community makes it ideal for a multi-national university.
“The campus will actually be located just outside of Querétaro, and has smaller towns on the other side of it so once it is built, the cities will basically grow towards it. Eventually the university will be smack dab in the middle of an amazing and exciting city,” Overby said. “There is so much growth and opportunity there that it is the absolute perfect location for our new campus.”
Residents of Querétaro are already excited about the A-State campus and are throwing up their Red Wolves in support of the project.
“I was able to meet students from several local high schools at the groundbreaking event and they were so excited about the university,” Overby said. “They got to meet and take pictures with Howl and we had them throwing up the Red Wolf for all of their pictures by the end of the day!”
The language barrier for the new school isn’t much of a problem, according to Shapp.
“(The local people) are already very passionate about Lobos Rojos,” he said.
The international campus will create one more platform for A-State to be recognized as a globally accredited university.
“This will do nothing but enhance the brand of Arkansas State throughout the world,” Overby said.
“It grows the Red Wolves brand out of A-State,” Shapp said.
For Shapp, one of the most exciting memories of his time in Mexico was seeing the thousands of people lined up at the press conference to support ASU-Q.
“This serves as an example of what we can achieve together, the United States and Mexico, when we combine forces regarding the most valuable things we have, which are our youth, the future, the progress of the nation,” said Querétaro Governor Jose Calzada at the press conference.
“The idea of a residential campus where people from different walks of life meet each other, interact and learn from each other outside the classroom– this is unique in Mexico and around the world,” said Hudson at the press conference. “To be competitive in a global economy, you need highly trained and highly educated individuals.”
In addition to offering courses for native students, the ASU-Querétaro campus will present a unique opportunity for ASU-Jonesboro students to study abroad.
“Students will be able to do semesters in both schools,” Shapp said. “I think it’s a good opportunity for future students to study internationally in a safe place.”
Overby is also supportive of students who wish to consider studying abroad at Querétaro.
“Everyone in the city was so kind and welcoming it was almost overwhelming. The students from Arkansas that choose to study abroad there will definitely be in good hands,” Overby said.