Indian students plant tree at SAU|It’s a living symbol of growing relationship

Graduate students of St. Francis College for Women in Hyderabad, India, and one of their faculty members help plant a crab apple tree June 3 on St. Ambrose University’s campus.

By Barb Arland-Fye

DAVENPORT – St. Ambrose University and St. Francis College for Women in Hyderabad, India, symbolized their blossoming relationship with the planting of a crab apple tree June 3 on St. Ambrose’s campus.

Ten business graduates from the Indian college and one of their faculty members placed the young tree into a freshly dug hole outside Hagan Hall on the east side of campus. The women took turns shoveling dirt into the space around the tree to ensure it stands firm.

They are participants in the American Business Experience, a St. Ambrose program designed for MBA-level or highly motivated upper-level international undergraduate students seeking to acquire an experience of American business.


Students thought planting a tree would be a wonderful way to share their love for greenery and symbolize a growing friendship between the two schools. The tree helps visualize “the bond between both of the colleges,” said Kiran Bhatia. “It’s one way of giving back to the college,” added Kranti Sethia.

“The tree that was planted stands out in my mind on several fronts,” said Paul Koch, vice president of academic affairs for St. Ambrose. “The American Business Experience (ABE) program and our relationship with St. Francis College for Women are both relatively young, but growing; as such the tree is very appropriate as a young, living, and growing icon of both. In addition, the ABE and our relationship with St. Francis are both unique, and the tree that our Director of Maintenance Jim Hannon selected and that was planted is one-of-a-kind on our campus to represent this uniqueness.”

The tree will be watered from one of St. Ambrose’s storm-water detention tanks, a tribute to caring for the earth in a responsible manner, according to a news release.

Four students from St. Francis represented their school’s inaugural class in the St. Ambrose program last summer. This year 10 students are participating in the month-long program which concludes June 17. The number of students is anticipated to grow next year, said Arun Pillutla, associate professor and chair of managerial studies at St. Ambrose.

This year’s students and a faculty member accompanying them have been impressed with the people they’ve met and the welcoming atmosphere on campus. “The people are warm and friendly. I think that touches me the most,” said Mallika Shetty, who heads the management studies department at St. Francis.

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