Summer research takes Blugolds to China to study public opinion on climate change

How do China's citizens feel about climate change? That's the question UW-Eau Claire faculty and students are hoping to answer on their trip to Xian, China, May 23-June18.

Dr. Eric Jamelske, professor of economics, along with Dr. James Boulter, director of the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies, and four students, will spend 25 days in Xian as they continue their research on what Chinese citizens think about climate change in comparison to United States citizens.

While in China, the UW-Eau Claire research team will work with faculty, administrative and student partners from Xian University of Posts and Telecommunications.

Jamelske began the climate change public opinion research in 2009 with a survey of UW-Eau Claire college students and Chippewa Valley residents to compare views on climate change across the two groups.

In 2013, Jamelske expanded his research and made his first trip to China with three UW-Eau Claire student researchers.

"The students that traveled to China and lived and worked with me there in the fall of 2013 all had life-changing experiences with both extensive personal and professional gains that cannot ever fully be described," Jamelske said. "I expect the same for this group of students on this trip as well."

On the ground in China, senior Brittany Flaherty, economics and political science;junior David Hahn, accounting and business administration;junior Emily Koehn, economics and environmental studies;and senior Greg Sikowski, economics and psychology, will be part of a team of student researchers that also will consist of 10 XUPT students.

The American and Chinese students will work collaboratively to plan schedules for collecting data from Chinese adult citizens and will enter data into computer files to begin the data analysis while in China. 

The students also will attend and participate in the discussion part of presentations given to faculty and students at XUPT by Jamelske and Boulter. 

The trip is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire International Fellows Program. Follow the research team as they explore Xian, China, by reading the students' blog posts. For more information about the research or trip to China, contact Dr. Eric Jamelske at jamelsem@uwec.edu or 715-836-3254.