Planting lasting memories at Yellow River
More than 30 instructors, students and family members from Sias International University joined with teachers and students from the Zhengzhou area to plant trees as part of the Olympic beatification movement on March 22. The program, called “Building a greener Zhengzhou to welcome the Olympics,” involved planted numerous trees in the Shangdu Friendship Forest at the Yellow River Scenic Area. “I think this is fabulous,” said Jenica Schmidt, a first-year teacher at Sias. “We are bringing more beauty to Zhengzhou. This has been my favorite activity.” The foreign and local contingent descended upon the area with a police escort in two vans and four large buses. After opening speeches by local government officials and honored guests, it was time to plant the trees. Yellow River workers had already prepared the holes and placed the trees in them. The visitors filled in the holes and secured the trees. “I’m glad we actually got our hands dirty, even if it was only for 10 minutes,” said Chris Bernhardt, a second-year instructor at Sias. First-year teacher Chandrika Phea added: “It was better than I expected. I am a part of history. It will bring community and motivation. Community because we were together and motivation to keep it that way, because it’s worth doing.” The Friendship Forest planted last year was to highlight the community of locals and foreigners working together in China. This year, it was about community and helping to clean the air for the Olympics. “It’s a symbol of relationship,” said Bill Guo, a senior at Sias. “It’s a symbol because (the trees) will go on forever. “I’m proud of Sias,” he added. “When people ask me where I’m from, I can say Sias with pride.”

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