Students, staff conduct Q & A on ASU-Q
A-State faculty, staff and students traveled to Mexico Feb. 20 for the official groundbreaking ceremony for A-State’s newest sister campus, ASU-Queretaro.
ASU-Q will be the first American university on Mexican soil when the campus opens in the fall of 2015. The privately funded campus will cater to Mexican and international students in science, engineering and business fields.
Five A-State representatives share their experiences at the groundbreaking and discuss how the foreign satellite campus will change the face of the university at home and abroad.
What was the atmosphere like at the Feb. 20 groundbreaking ceremony?
William “Rick” Stripling (vice chancellor for student affairs):
I’ve been to a lot of groundbreakings. The magnitude of this one was really something else.
They actually call the event “moving the first rock.” The most memorable part was not just being on the stage, but being on that stage to see all the people. There were at least 2,000 people there. In the end, it was standing room only.
Yvonne Unnold (department chair of world languages and cultures):
It was quite humbling. The interest, the commitment and the support that was shown in that event for this initiative was truly outstanding.
Stephanie “Stevie” Overby (senior biology and animal science major of Little Rock):
The atmosphere down there is energized and really exciting. Everyone there is so looking forward to this campus being down there, and it’s almost unreal.
I can’t even describe it, there’s just this energy anytime we went anywhere (in Queretaro). It was unbelievable.
Julie Isaacson (A-State Faculty Senate president):
It was exciting and exhilarating. They are so excited to have us. It makes you more proud than ever to be a Red Wolf.
How does the university benefit from having a satellite campus in Mexico?
Unnold: Education truly is a tool that can bring change and that can bring people to a better understanding. We will be able to learn a lot from our Mexican counterparts.
Isaacson: I think (the campus) will give back to us culturally. It will allow us a direct venue for study abroad.
This is not just a host family; we’ll have a whole campus. If students from Arkansas State wanted to go to a study abroad site, it would all be in the same system.
I think it would be a very easy transition for a student to have a significant cultural experience with the creature comforts of home, knowing that the quality of life, dormitories and residential life are part of their own system.
Overby: I think ASU-Q going to be a big draw for future students to come here (to ASU-J). They’re going to realize that we have some incredible opportunities that other universities can’t offer. We have a little bit of a leg up.
This campus (in Queretaro) is really going to focus on the sciences. I think it’s going to open a lot of doors for the agriculture department here to work with that campus and learn a lot about international products and crops.
I think it’s going to open a lot of doors to work with other students, with other professors and collaborate on a lot of different projects.
Mark Young (President of Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce):
The long-term possibility of investment and potential partnerships with business industries (in Queretaro) is something that we’re certainly interested in as well.
(ASU-Queretaro) will also have a positive impact on the Jonesboro community, because of the workforce development. Having individuals who understand different cultures from a global perspective strengthens our workforce and our community.
How will ASU-Q impact the socioeconomics of Queretaro?
Stripling: You have extremes in the economic and social strata (in Mexico). You have at the top, a very small percentage of people who are considered the economically advantaged. You have a very large amount of people who are economically disadvantaged.
What they’re trying to do is expand the middle class by education. If it was not affordable for students to leave the country and go get an education in America, we now have a university there in Mexico that’s going to be operating just like an American university.
Isaacson: The Mexican government and educational system is hopeful that they will be able to recruit and retain their brightest students because of bringing the American model to Mexico.
Young: I think part of (the excitement in Queretaro) is understanding the impact education has on economic development. I was very impressed with the community and very impressed with the leadership that was represented there. I look forward to seeing the project continue to make progress.
Unnold: I think the impact will actually be quite significant.
Queretaro is already on the forefront. They already have a very strong presence of international companies. It is a highly developed region.12
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