Changsha: "Hunan University"

Changsha

Hunan Province

China

July 3, 2010

The guidebook is not very encouraging about his city of more than 2.7 million.  South of the city is the birthplace of Mao but since my time is limited here, I decided against a pilgrimage.

The guidebook mentioned the Hunan University.  (One thousand year history. 4600 faculty. 46,000 students.)

I haven't been on a college campus recently, so HU is my destination for the day. {C}

A large statue of Mao guards the entrance.  The campus itself is lovely, with broad, tree-shaded walkways and attractive stone buildings.  I wandered into one modern building and found several lecture halls.  Kids are the same everywhere.  Most paying attention and taking notes.  Others distracted with electronic devices.  Others nodding off.

In the lobby was a familiar sight: small groups of students scanning long lists posted on the bulletin board.  Names and grades, no doubt.

In one busy area of the campus I came upon a group of very black people.  Using my best diplomatic voice, I inquired, "What part of the world are you from?" 

I got a geography lesson.  "We are from Guinea.  Please do not be confused.  There are three Guinea's:  Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea.  We are from Guinea.  Our capital is Conakry."  They cheerfully explained that they were at HU taking a course in modern agricultural methods.  (Even as I write, I am referring to a map of West Africa.)

Perhaps I am behind the times regarding the current curricula of important universities.  I was impressed at what I found as I strolled around the campus.  I made notes of the plaques affixed to many, but not all of the buildings:

  • - Institute of Polymer Science and Engineering
  • - Vision Control Technology and Application
  • - Graduate Information Base of New Technology and Transmission and Distribution
  • - New Technology Engineering Research Center
  • - College of Electrical and Information Engineering
  • - Post Doctoral Research Center for Science and Engineering
  • - Electric and Electronic Basic Experiment Center
  • - Hunan Electro Technical Society
  • - Control Theory and Control Engineering
  • - Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • - Laboratory of Electrical Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  • - College of Science and Application
  • - Physical Demonstration Laboratory
  • - College of Foreign Languages
  • - Laboratory of Chemo-Bio-sensing and Chemo-metrics
  • - Post Doctorate Research Program on Chemistry
  • - Post Doctoral Research Center of Chemical Engineering and Technology
  • - College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  • - National Base for the Cultivation of Science
  • - Engineering Center of Chemistry
  • - Research Center of Cancer Prevention and Treatment
  • - Center of Biomedical Engineering

I suppose I could editorialize about what I have found here in Hunan and all the places I have visited in China.  For example, I have seen hundreds, if not thousands of construction booms and cranes along with thousands of skyscrapers - shocking, even to this self-satisfied New Yorker.  I have observed an enormous, energetic, educated and proud population.

I'll leave the comments and prognostications for others.

Except to say, at Hunan University, the motto is  实事求是 敢为人先. - 

"Pragmatic Pioneers."

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