Six IU Bloomington students received full scholarships from Tsinghua University to participate in the Tsinghua Global Summer School (GSS) 2021 that focused on innovation for sustainable development. In June and July, they joined over 1,000 students from more than 150 universities worldwide for nine days of online educational programming designed to educate and inspire young innovators to take action on critical global issues.
Molly Donnell, an IU undergraduate studying environmental sustainability in IU’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, was excited to be offered the opportunity to participate in GSS. She noted, “Meeting new people from all over the world and becoming friends with them was probably the best part about this program. I had the opportunity to work in a group with 6 others who were undergraduate and graduate students from Macau, Malaysia, UK, China, South Korea, and Singapore.”
The mission of GSS is to bring world-wide talents together to inspire action on critical global issues by engaging in rich course content and interactive activities. The 2021 program included eight masterclasses with experts in the areas of economy, leadership, psychology, design, education, and environmental studies. They also hosted a new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) hackathon, a youth forum, enterprise virtual visits in Huawei and Lenovo, virtual tours and Chinese cultural activities all designed around the themes of challenge, cooperation, and innovation.
Shijirtuya Munkhbat, a public affairs graduate student and teaching assistant at IU, had a great experience and was honored to participate. For her, “the best part of the program was themed Hackathons that required students to work with others to develop a project proposal. It was interesting to work with students from different countries and learning from their perspective and experience with the SDGs.”
Using an interdisciplinary approach and a concentration on social responsibility, the program explored emerging innovations like design thinking to tackle the most critical issues of our time. Sustainable approaches across the world are critical to face common challenges such as climate change, one of the many global issues the SDGs address.
A goal of GSS is to educate innovators who are passionate about making a difference in the world, with an emphasis on using technology to break down boundaries, share experiences, and learn from each other. Inspiring youth to address both local and global challenges is the most effective way to make the SDGs a reality.
Tsinghua University in Beijing and Indiana University have held a primary partnership agreement since 2006 and have developed strong collaborations through projects with multiple academic units over the years.