is a common form of fundraising at many universities across the world. Buildings proudly displaying the name of a sponsor are just a common sight on US campuses. And it's starting to become less of a rarity
at China's top educational institutions, including Tsinghua.
Like many other colleges in China, Tsinghua raises funds from its donors. According to its education foundation
, the university is now soliciting hundreds of millions of yuan in gifts. And donors who give above a certain amount will now be able to name 14 campus buildings.
Large scale donations from alumni
, businesses and organizations are already common in many other countries. Over half of American Universities rely on donated inheritances, stocks, properties or cash, just to stay open. Consequently, many campus buildings, or even universities themselves are named after a high profile donor. Harvard university was named after John Harvard, a Puritan
minister who left his books and half of his estate to the college.
But it's rare to find business-branded buildings in these countries. Most colleges have strict rules and standards for choosing donors. The more prestigious, the more preferable. Colleges often say no to those who donate solely for commercial publicity, as it may affect the independence and traditions of the college. Cambridge University in the UK is reported to have once refused a gift of 300 million pounds from British American Tobacco. The historic seat of learning apparently didn't want to be associated with an industry known for harming people's health.
But it seems that Tsinghua university has chosen not to follow this principle. The top education institution is under pressure, after naming one of its buildings Jeanswest, a clothing brand. The move has outraged
over 80% of respondents to an Internet poll
. Many say it's turned the campus into a commercial billboard
. And there's skepticism over why the building has been named now, since it was built over 20 years ago. A transparent report is now being called for, into how much Tsinghua receives in donations and how the money is spent.
As one of China's top Universities, Tsinghua receives a 1.8 billion yuan government budget each year. It also receives large funding for scientific research, and owns several top ranking IT companies.
The head of the University insists the funding income is not enough to continue improving its facilities, and the quality of its education.