From Hartford to China and Myanmar

Seventh Annual Run of a Trinity Faculty-led Summer Traveling Program

Hartford, CT, August 11, 2015 - This summer marks the seventh annual run of a Trinity faculty-led summer traveling program focused on river cities and urban sustainability in China and Asia. Since 2009, the program has taken a total of 115 Trinity students through a dozen cities along three major rivers in China and Southeast Asia, namely the Yangtze, the Mekong, and the Irrawaddy. The program exemplifies Trinity’s distinctive urban-global educational initiative by connecting curricular and experiential learning in Hartford and cities in Asia, as represented by the 2015 edition of the program in China and Myanmar carrying 1.5 credits for an interdisciplinary course (URST/INTS 310).

During the first week, five Trinity faculty worked closely with 14 students to achieve a broad understanding of urban sustainability, which was reinforced thematically by field visits to the trash museum in Hartford, a wastewater treatment plant in East Hartford, a fascinating visit to the old factory site of the Collins Company in Collinsville, and a cruise on the Connecticut River. A .5 credit Chinese language class also began in Hartford.

In Shanghai, where the two-week traveling investigation began, the students and faculty visited the urban planning museum, heard two lectures by excellent faculty at Fudan and Tongji Universities, Trinity’s partner institutions, and walked through an interesting old neighborhood that had survived the large-scale demolition and reconstruction. Program participants also joined a reception hosted by President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, attended by approximately 50 students, faculty, alumni, and parents.

In the megacity of Chongqing on the upper reach of the Yangtze River, the group heard informative lectures by a famous local architect and a group of municipal urban planners, had a lovely night cruise on the Yangtze River, and enjoyed the famous hotpot as a fun way of appreciating the distinctive regional culinary culture.

Moving from the booming Chinese cities to three Myanmar cities of Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay was like going both backward and forward in time. The visit to the Yangon Heritage Trust allowed the students and faculty to see an encouraging effort to preserve and rehabilitate the historic buildings from the British colonial era as an integral part of an ambitious plan to build a new riverfront in Yangon. Seeing several of the many Buddhist temples in the ancient city of Bagan stoked our imagination of the prosperous Burmese kingdoms of the past. We finished with a cruise on the Irrawaddy River in Mandalay.

L-R: Jean Germano ’18, Hung Nguyen ’17, and Dylan Hebert 17

The China/Myanmar program is jointly supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Thomas China Urban Studies Teaching and Research Endowment, the O’Neill Asia Cum Laude Endowment, and the Charlotte Riggs Scholarship Fund, with administrative support from the Center for Urban and Global Studies.

View an animated PowerPoint presentation about the course here.

Written by Xiangming Chen with Michael Lestz, Joan Morrison, Beth NotarYipeng Shen, and contribution from Terry Romero.