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ECNU “Dream Big Build Bigger” Program offers immersive experience of university culture for children from the desert region


The mailbox of the ECNU President received a letter of appreciation from Song Jie, an alumna of the Class of 2004 of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering. In the letter, Song remarked about the experience of learning at ECNU: “Though my dream was small, I find it becoming more achievable with the help of so many teachers from ECNU.  The students can also feel the power of education, and they can achieve the power of dreams during the course.” 

After the graduation at ECNU, Song Jie returned to her hometown at Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and served as a teacher at Karamay No. 3 Middle School, where 90% of students come from the rural areas of Hotan. Students on the campus are yearning to see the world outside of the desert through their own learning efforts. Song Jie also hopes to make their dreams come true through her teaching efforts.

Back in 2020, ECNU launched a program called“Dream Big Build Bigger”, which aims at helping alumni from remote areas with their aspirations for education . After Song Jie registered for the program, she found that she had been chosen as one of the successful candidates.

In 2021, ECNU organized an online campus trip for students at Karamay No.3 Middle School, showing them around the campus via live-streaming. In April, upon learning that more than 20 students from Karamay No. 3 High School would visit Shanghai for a study tour, the School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering and the Department of Science and Technology of ECNU set out to prepare for the trip and invited these students to visit ECNU campus on-site. The purpose of the trip is to immerse them in the university life, so that they can feel the university’s campus culture, and foster their dreams in pursuing higher education.

“After this exchange and learning experience at ECNU, it has not only fulfilled my imagination of what university life would be like, but helped me set clear goals and directions for my future studies, paving the way for a more stable and promising academic journey,” said Yu Tianyue, a student from Karamay No.3 Middle School.

As for student Ibanur Matusin who shared a personal view on the future: “When I left the campus, I felt like a driving force that was pushing me forward. There has been a constant voice in my mind: I must work hard to study at ECNU in the future.”

Since officially launching in September of  2020, the ECNU “Dream Big Build Bigger” Program has focused on the following themes:“ Poverty Alleviation & Intellectual Development”, “National Strength & Teacher Development” and “Enlightenment & Sharing”.

Thus far the program has supported a total of 124 education dreams and improved basic education in remote and underprivileged areas, and the central and western parts of China through on-site guidance, training lectures, and material donations. These actions have benefited nearly 30,000 teachers and students from 21 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions of China to date.

Copy editor: Melody Zhang,  Mayfield Joshua Monroe

Editor: Yvaine Lyu