A-State students give back to campus

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A group of Arkansas State University students gave back to their campus by planting trees.

A spring celebration hosted by the International Student Association in collaboration with the Global Initiatives office took place on Friday.

The two groups worked together for a month to raise funds to purchase Yoshino cherry blossom trees.

On Friday, they gathered together to plant the trees with ASU Chancellor Kelly Damphousse.

Damphousse said it was wonderful to see the students' hard work.

"First of all, it's a beautiful day in Jonesboro, Arkansas," Damphousse said. "Second, this is a great time for our international students. We have so many international students on our campus and they wanted to do something special for their campus. So, they got together, and they raised money to buy all these trees and have them planted. And so, it's great to see our international students literally buying into our campus and our culture."

Associate Director of Global Initiatives, Angela Kremers, said this project has meaning.

"The students of ISA," Kremers said. "Have done a wonderful job with a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to plant 20 Yoshino cherry blossom trees on campus. And for international students, the cherry tree is really a symbol of gratitude, a very welcoming space. So, for them, it is a sign of spring. And so, being here today to have our first annual spring celebration with the tree planting ceremony with the Chancellor, we're just extremely excited to have students, faculty and staff get involved today with what we're doing."

Damphousse said the students' hard work and gesture meant a lot.

"It just warmed my heart," Damphousse said. "Because I knew they were passionate about being a Red Wolf and it just really symbolizes something really important about other cultures as well. Especially the cherry blossoms which has a very special relationship with the country of Japan. They're very beautiful trees and they grow really well here. And so, they'll be a beautiful addition to our campus."

Kremer said it was about giving back to ASU and leaving something behind.

"The International Students Association really has a heart," Kremer said. "To give back to the campus while they're in Jonesboro. So, I hope those that attend today really understand that the international students want to be here and they want to leave a positive impact for the community as a whole. And so, this is a legacy event. We want it to be annual and we will have a plaque set up by the International Student Association just because we want people to come away today knowing we are an inclusive environment and supportive of all our students."

Junior Patrick Jericha is studying international business at A-State.

Jericha said this project was proof that a few people can leave their mark in a positive way.

"Just a few people can make a difference," Jericha said. "Because we're actually changing the campus. We're making it nicer cause we're planting cherry blossom trees which will make a nice addition to the campus."

Graduate student Anukrit Chapagain said the campus is one of inclusion that's heartwarming.

"America is all about diversity," Chapagain said. "So welcoming and accepting and to have our culture and values recognized and celebrated is a great thing and a great honor. So, I hope people feel welcome and enjoy their stay here."

They also had some food and entertainment.

"We also have boxes filled with authentic food," Kremer said. "Being cooked by some of the international students. So, we have 200 of those boxes available for students and I know they will go fast. We also have a strolling musician that will be here on the lawn and then blankets under the cherry trees with the blooming fragrant blossoms so that we can have people out enjoying what a beautiful campus A-State is."

Over 100 students turned out for the tree planting ceremony with the Chancellor.

They hope to make this an annual event.

For more information about Arkansas State University, click here.

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