Sunday, March 15, 2009

This Is Southwestern University

The campus of Southwestern University is an interesting place. Nestled in the mountains, way out at the edge of town, the university is actually a new creation. Back in 2005, a local teacher's college was merged with a neighboring agricultural school. The result is an enormous campus, large even by Chinese standards.

One neat, little by-product of the hilly, immense scale of Southwestern University is the fleet of trams that cart students, faculty, and staff from one end of campus to the other. As we walked and rode, some of our favorite sites included...

A gigantic statue of Mao Zedong. The Chairman occupies a place of honor at one of the university's main gates, much more centrally located than the much smaller statue of Confucius. Einstein, though, has two statues in his honor.

Several athletic fields where students play games of all kinds. There was a lot of soccer, running, badminton, and ping pong going on. We even bumped into a student who was at my lectures...on a campus of 50,000 students...

And not only do students live on campus. There are plenty of retired university workers shuffling around, from their apartments to the university's green spaces, where they chat, play cards, and otherwise while the afternoon away. There are many worse places where I can imagine living and learning in these ways...



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