According to the U.S. Census Bureau (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/21000.html), the population in Kentucky is 4,380,415, and the reality is that Kentucky is a very rural state. The state contains over 120 counties, 174 school districts, 1,233 public school systems (excluding private schools), and with over 647,827 students enrolled, it has so many possibilities for further promotion of our program. The problem is that the further away from WKU we market our program, the less individuals in the state know about WKU, let alone the CI program. The solution, let's bring the Confucius Institute at WKU to those areas that may not know about our program, so that they can get a visual, hands on experience of our program.
Unvieled in September 2013, the mibile unit has visit over 200 sites, has traveled over 7,000 miles (equivalent to a one-way trip from Bowling Green to China), and more than 30,000 individuals have visited the unit.
The fundamental purpose of the mobile unit satisfies two different, but important areas of our program. The first piece is the marketing and publicity of our program. We live in a world in which marketing is all around us (Facebook, Twitter, newspaper, radio, TV, etc.), and it is presented in a myriad of ways (i.e. mobile devices, computer, etc.); however, there is no, one single outlet that reaches throughout the entire state (as it relates to promoting the Chinese language and culture). As this RV is transported throughout the state, it is not only a visually stunning vehicle, but it is just the type of innovative and hands-on tool that will engage potential students and communities around Kentucky. As we travel to the various towns throughout Kentucky, the RV will leave a lasting impression on these individuals one way or the other.
The second piece is the recruitment of additional districts into our program. As stated earlier, as we travel further away from WKU's home base, many individuals have not either heard of the Confucius Institute, or know very little about
it. As we visit these areas, and explain our program, it is very hard for many of the school districts to gauge student interest, and community interest. Thus, once we leave the mobile at these interested sites for a couple of days, the students visit the RV on the school site, the districts have a better understanding of whether the program is something that their educational system is equipped and ready to participate.