U.S. China Creative Space helps Chinese students engage with community

East Lansing is the home of the largest population of Chinese students in the United States with 2,600. It was this fact that spurred an economic idea that quickly spun into a community outreach initiative.

“I started working at Gillespie Group in October,” says Dan Redford, 22, who majored in Chinese at MSU and has spent three summers in China. The plan was to build a community center-type development to service the students.

“What we found was how seriously these student are isolated away from the rest of the student community,” Redford says.

Thie initiative is now called the US China Creative Space and utilizes community engagement to introduce the Chinese student population to East Lansing residents and vice versa.

An initial program placed more than 100 Chinese students with East Lansing residents for Thanksgiving. The group has partnered with Prima Civitas, the local Rotary Club as well as the Lansing Regional Chamber to expose the students to members of the business community.

The latest development of the organization is a partnership with Citidel Broadcasting to produce a radio show called The Lansing Chinese Radio Hour. The show features Chinese students discussing local issues in Chinese.

The show and all US China Creative Space programs aim to not only help the Chinese students feel at home, but also to inspire them to call East Lansing their home.

“Our goal is to provide new avenues for some of the students to stay here and contribute to local economic development,” says Redford.

Source: Dan Redford, US China Creative Space

Writer: Natalie Burg, News Editor
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