WJU honors the memory of 9/11 with a ritual of hope

  WJU News
  Thursday, September 13, 2018 3:00 PM
  WJU News

Wheeling, WV

A special gathering took place on Sept. 11, at the certified Wildlife Habitat behind Whelan Hall at WJU. Participants from across campus honored the Twin Towers memory with a ritual of hope – releasing newborn Monarch butterflies into the sky. The colorful creatures (Danaus plexippus) brave storms, drought, predators, and human-made barriers in an iconic migration of 2000 miles that takes place every year when they leave North America for Central Mexico.

Kathy Tagg, director of the testing center, orchestrated the event – having raised 403 Monarchs since July 4. Tuesday brought this year's release-total to 210 butterflies. Since Kathy continues to tag and release Monarchs, interested parties can contact her and help prevent the extinction of these special campus visitors. 

WJU's effort is part of a national movement in response to the decimation of Monarchs. The Omaha public school system, for example, excused all students from a day of class by having them plant milkweed throughout the city. WJU's Wildlife Habitat is home to milkweed that yearly draws Monarch travelers.

Tagg was joined by Homan Hajiran of the business department; Jesuits Jim Conroy, Michael Steltenkamp, and Luis Tampe; Paula Lestini and Kelly Mummert from the library; Pam Trabert of the registrar's office; and Ralph Seward from institutional research. With experience on the Galapagos Islands in preserving threatened tortoises, Samantha Olbrich, a junior biology major, helped make the event a successful one.

As the group watched them part for south of the border, those present were of one accord in wishing these colorful creatures "Vaya con Dios." "Go with God, and may your descendants return to bless WJU with your presence again."

Wheeling Jesuit University is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the country offering more than 30 undergraduate programs of study and five graduate degrees. The University provides a Jesuit, Catholic, liberal arts education, and our affordable programs unite the Jesuit tradition of intellectual excellence allowing students to receive an education for life, leadership and service with and among others. The 65-acre campus is situated on the Ohio River 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, and two hours east of Columbus, in Wheeling, WV.

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