The Britons and French met in France for the signing of a document yet again during the week of Oct. 23; these Britons, however, were from Albion and the French were representatives from the Universite Versailles Saint Quentin (UVSQ).
As part of a five day trip to Noisy-le-Roi and Bailly, France, Albion College president Donna Randall and UVSQ representatives signed a Memorandum of Understanding and an International Mobility Agreement that will enable a five student exchange each year between the two institutions.
“It was an honor to be at the same table as (UVSQ),” Randall said. “It’s a big step in terms of program partnership and global diversity.”
Other initiatives that fall under the agreements include an eco-innovation masters program that students could participate in, as well as faculty and student workshops on sustainability.
Randall said that she also met with Noisy-le-Roi Chamber of Commerce members as part of Albion’s sister city relationship. Aspects of the meeting included planning for a French delegation to visit Albion during the 2010 Festival of the Forks, set to coincide with the 175th anniversary of Albion College, as well as expanding internship opportunities for French students to Jackson and Marshall.
“The sister city relationship is more than just Albion College,” Randall said. “We looked at adding a second city in Spain and expanding our relations into surrounding areas.”
Tim Lincoln, professor of geology and director of the Environmental Institute, is optimistic about the prospects of the agreement.
“I’m intrigued by it, and I’d like to see students take advantage of it,” Lincoln said.
Dianne Guenin-Lelle, professor of French, who accompanied Randall on the trip, believes there is a lot more to the agreement than just the sustainability programs.
“In traditional off campus programs, students are placed in a controlled environment with other French students,” Guenin-Lelle said. “Now, students can go directly into university classes and truly be a French student.”
Guenin-Lelle also stated that UVSQ is located in the richest area in Europe which will provide students with a variety of cooperative experiences in a vibrant economic situation.
“The important thing is that we were invited into this partnership by the schools,” Guenin-Lelle said. “Due to our sister city relationship, (Noisy-le-Roi) is always looking for opportunities for the college.”
According to Guenin-Lelle, the college is still working on the framework for selecting students for the program.
“This agreement was an agreement friends made with us, so we need to take care in selecting students to make a good first impression,” Guenin-Lelle said.