A $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State will fund a collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota, Crookston and Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic (ZJETP) to establish an American Cultural Center in China. The purpose of the cultural center, to be located on the campus of ZJETP in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is to cultivate greater understanding between the United States and China. One of the unique aspects of the American Cultural Center at ZJETP is the construction of a 3-D immersive lab similar to the one located on the Crookston campus.
Students in China will be able to use the lab to demonstrate American historical scenes and visit sites in the U.S. including universities, national landmarks, and other places of interest. The lab combines the most recent computer technology, sensor technology, and visual technology to allow users to "immerse" themselves in a virtual environment and interact with that environment. Along with the 3-D immersive lab, the American Cultural Center at ZJETP will include a multimedia conference room and theater, a reading room, and an e-reading room.
Jingpeng Tang, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Math, Science, and Technology Department on the Crookston campus is the grant's principal investigator. Kim Gillette, Ph.D., director of the Office of International Programs will join Tang to serve as the cultural center's deputy directors. Serving as their counterpart as deputy director in China is Mingdi Gu, who is the director of the international office at ZJETP.