November 15 was our fifth annual Pengyou Day! Young leaders at Project Pengyou Chapters all across the U.S and China held events to promote U.S.-China relations in conjunction with the U.S. State Department’s International Education Week. The nationwide campaign celebrated U.S.-China study, engagement, and friendship through events, gatherings, and stories shared via social media using #projectpengyou and #pengyouday.
This year, we were thrilled to be joined in our efforts by SupChina, Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Fulbright Program and the US-China Strong Foundation who helped to promote US-China exchange on Pengyou Day in their national networks. Thanks to everyone who contributed, organized an event, and helped spread the word in their networks!
Building a Legacy
Pengyou Day is not only a day of celebration, but also of solidarity for over 70 Project Pengyou Chapters that have been working hard at schools across 35 states in the US. Though the Project Pengyou Chapter network is only 4 years old, many Chapters such as the UC Berkeley Chapter, the Medgar Evers College Preparatory High School Chapter, and the Texas A&M International University Chapter have come out in full force each year on Pengyou Day with day-long events, panel discussions, table demonstrations teaching new words in Chinese, and of course, fun activities and food! Newer Chapters Chapters such as the Middlebury Chapter, Northern State University, and the Western Kentucky University Chapter others have also held creative events such as fashion shows, study abroad panels and talent shows!
This year’s Pengyou Day was equally impressive with events happening at campuses across the nation and thousands engaging online. Many alumni also took up the call as well and shared their favorite memories of their times with their Chapter or in China!
It’s no secret that U.S.-China relations have been strained lately, but we hope that days like Pengyou Day will serve as a reminder that what seem to be simple conversations and efforts to reach out to someone who has a different perspective can have a big impact. If our chapters help inspire people in their communities to try a little harder to be everyday bridge-builders, then the ripple effect of those efforts will be felt in the future.
Things like “Trade Wars” and high-level diplomatic relations might seem daunting, but there are many things we can all do everyday to build peace, and Pengyou Day is a reminder of that. We applaud all of the students, teachers, and young leaders at Project Pengyou Chapters who worked hard to make Pengyou Day a success this year and whose efforts everyday help make this world a better place.
Pengyou Day Challenge Winners
On that note, Team Pengyou also likes to reward our high-achieving Project Pengyou Chapters! Every year, we hold a friendly Pengyou Day Challenge – a competition between Project Pengyou Chapters celebrating their efforts. Points are given based on three categories, including social media outreach, online engagement with their campaigns, and offline recruitment from their Pengyou Day event at their campuses. There was a great amount of effort from all of the Project Pengyou Chapters and Leadership Fellows, however, there were a few Chapters that really stood out this year! This year’s Pengyou Day Challenge winners were:
In third place, the Medgar Evers College Preparatory School Chapter in New York City, NY, for promoting engagement with Chinese culture through Chinese yo-yo, calligraphy, paper cutting, chopstick races, and good food!
In second place, the Northern State University Chapter in Aberdeen, South Dakota for their efforts in creating genuine dialogue on campus through watercolor, stories and more!
Finally, in first place, the Texas A&M International University Chapter in Laredo, Texas, for their efforts in spreading cross-cultural friendship by through massive social media engagement, tabling, fun events, and drawing a crowd on campus!
In addition to this year’s winners, the following Chapters also put forth notable effort on Pengyou Day (in alphabetical order):
- American University, Washington, DC
- Barnard College, NY
- Binghamton University, NY
- Colby College, ME
- D.C. International School, Washington, DC
- Middlebury College, VT
- St. Lawrence University, NY
- University of California, Berkeley, CA
- University of Kentucky, KY
- University of Oregon, OR
- University of Rochester, NY
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
- College of William & Mary, VA
- Western Kentucky University, KY
We applaud all of you for your efforts and we hope you don’t underestimate the impact you have, both in the wider network and as individuals, to make a difference in someone’s life by being a friend.
Pengyou Day Highlights
Congratulations to all of our Chapters and Pengyous around the country on another great Pengyou Day!