"We have been waiting so long to do this project," says Sarah Swenson, Phi Theta Kappa's vice-president of scholarship. "The project honors and embraces our sister college in Zhaoqing, China and reaches out to the local community."
"I am very excited about this project," adds Tong Li, the current Chinese exchange faculty member at Anoka-Ramsey. "This garden is symbolic. It plants the seeds of understanding between people and cultures."
The global connection is widened further by Bora Kuyomba, the project's co-coordinator and Phi Theta's vice-president of service. Kuyomba moved to the U.S. from Tanzania two years ago. "This project not only fulfills our service learning requirement, it strengthens the college's ties to the city, the community and the world."
The project's community connection is joined by local government and the Windego Park Society, which is dedicated to the restoration of Anoka's historic amphitheater.
"When Anoka-Ramsey student Sara Swenson approached me with an idea to plant a Chinese flower garden in a city park, I was both pleased and flattered," says Anoka Mayor Bjorn Skogquist. "The students' creativity, excitement and energy are exactly what are needed now. It is our job as citizens and community leaders to help efforts like this one succeed."
The students' research for the project unearthed that China has contributed the rose, lilac, daphnia, species of the rhododendrons and the peony to the world. The project has already received a $150 cash donation. Mickman Brothers in Ham Lake has donated $175 in plants. Along with donations, the project needs more than 20 students and people from the community to help with the two-day planting.
"This is a great feature for the community," says Alyssa Baguss, Windego Park Society administrator. "This site has such historical significance but, without having been used in so long, people have forgotten."
For more information, contact the college's Phi Theta Kappa faculty advisor Gordy Wax at 763-433-1199.