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Despite the rainy weather, more than 250 students, staff and community members attended Waubonsee's Arbor Day celebration on April 28, where both a tree and  an eight-foot-tall aluminum Peace Pole were planted.

Peace Planted for Arbor Day

Students, staff and community members look on as a Peace Pole is unveiled at the Sugar Grove Campus on April 28.

Despite the rainy weather, more than 250 students, staff and community members attended Waubonsee Community College’s Arbor Day celebration on April 28. During a short ceremony at the Sugar Grove Campus, the college planted the traditional tree, along with something a bit more unique — an eight-foot-tall aluminum Peace Pole.

“This Peace Pole is a visual statement of Waubonsee’s individual and institutional commitment to removing barriers to learning by creating and fostering an inclusive environment where all can see their dreams take shape,” said Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek.

Started in Japan in 1955 as a response to the Hiroshima bombings and bearing the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in a different language on each of their four sides, Peace Poles can be found at more than 200,000 sites around the globe, including the Egyptian pyramids, the South African jail where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and the U.S. Pentagon. Waubonsee’s Peace Pole languages include English, Arabic, French and Spanish, as well as a Braille plate.

“With today’s dedication ceremony, we express that fundamental human desire to have peace, to avoid violence, to see fellow human beings - not as our enemies - but as our brothers and sisters,” said Associate Professor of English Ellen Lindeen, who also teaches a peace studies course at the college.

Lindeen brought the idea of a campus Peace Pole to the college's Diversity Leadership Council a year ago.

Right next to the new Peace Pole on the north side of campus, students helped plant a white oak tree while Assistant Professor of Biology Dani DuCharme highlighted the college’s ongoing sustainability efforts.

“Waubonsee Community College demonstrates its strong commitment to natural resource sustainability in many ways each and every day — through the protection of fragile ecosystems, such as the Sugar Grove wetlands; the design of campus buildings that allow trees to continue to grow undisturbed; the establishment of sustainability courses and programs; and the presence of a sustainability working group, coordinator, and center on campus,” DuCharme said.

Waubonsee was recently named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. It is one of 113 colleges and universities nationwide and just 12 Illinois colleges to receive this honor for 2010.