China is an amazing place. The sheer number of people and growth of the economy dwarfs many of my preconceptions about the world before moving here. After living here for two years I realize that such incredible growth demands efficient technology because there is a lot of waste and China is not known as a clean place (something I'm reminded of every day when I look out at the smog). While "we" (as Americans) typically perceive green tech as some sort of moral good, clean tech in China is actually just an answer to basic problems such as providing enough energy to everyone, reducing air quality concerns, providing clean drinkable water etc. These simple problems on such a large scale create a need for efficient technology.
China leads the world in solar panel production and consumption.
China is currently leading the world in solar panel production and this year it will lead the world in the consumption of solar panels as well. This isn't necessarily driven by a moral need to preserve the Earth, but by the mere fact that there isn't enough energy and the energy that is produced here is sucked into the lungs of the entire population as dirty air. The opportunities for efficiency-driven solutions, many of which are classified as "clean tech" are endless.
Opportunities in “clean tech China” for SCU students.
For Santa Clara students this is a great opportunity. There are a number of ways to participate in driving solutions into this marketplace. Many of the companies that surround campus are already participating in this movement. From Applied Materials providing equipment for solar manufacturers, to Cisco building out Smart Grid Networks, to startups like Tigo Energy providing innovative products, I never find any shortage of Silicon Valley companies involved in clean tech China.
A biased alum’s opinion about SCU students’ strengths.
My slightly biased opinion is that Broncos benefit by being well-rounded technically as well as socially. By having a strong academic foundation that is rounded by the Jesuit ideals of being a world citizen, I find that most Broncos are more mature and capable straight out of college than many of their peers.
What SCU students can be doing to get their foot in the “clean tech” door.
My recommendation to anyone interested in clean-tech is to figure out which problem interests you. Find something that gets you excited and then pursue it. In any interview I've ever conducted it's pretty apparent who is looking for a job and who is following a genuine passion. Get involved in one of the many things SCU has to offer and find a way to differentiate your resume. One really strong item (such as the Solar Decathlon or Sustainability Decathlon) that proves your interest in a field, is much more convincing to me than a 4.0 and a hundred extra-curriculars... of course I never was a 4.0 student :)