University Theme

A Letter from the UTC Co-Chairs 

Cultivating Peace at Home and Abroad: Our Social Responsibility

Dear WIU Community,

The 2017-18 academic year marks the 14th year that Western Illinois University theme has brought engaging speakers, programs and events to our campus to facilitate meaningful discussions in our classrooms, coffee shops, and communities.  The topics have been simultaneously expansive and local.  Some of the topics have included civility, social justice, civic engagement, cultural diversity, global challenges, environmental sustainability, education and science and technology, and war and peace.

The theme for 2016-17, Economy:  Moral Challenges & Opportunitiescouldn’t have come at a more meaningful time for the WIU community and the state of Illinois.  As we transition into what we all hope will be a more stable economic period for the region, the year’s theme provides us an opportunity to consider how economic and environmental stability (the two previous University Themes) provides a basis for the2017-18 University Theme - “Cultivating Peace at Home and Abroad:  Our Social Responsibility.”

In October 1960, President John F. Kennedy, Jr. addressed 10,000 students at the University of Michigan challenging them to “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”.  Though many decades have passed, we continue to face situations that often foster the opposite of peace.  Poverty, environmental degradation, poor health, racism, and sexism are issues that face all people, everywhere.   This year’s theme “Cultivating Peace at Home and Abroad” asks anew how together we can take on big and meaningful projects that allow us to live more peacefully.  Whether working on relationships between police and civilians, modernizing democracy, or coming up with an economically viable technology to provide potable water around the world - cooperation and collaboration is key.  This theme challenges students, faculty, and graduates to ponder what great projects they will take on to help foster peace at home and abroad.

As always, we encourage the university community to apply this theme creatively as we expose Western students, staff, faculty, and the community to issues and topics specific to their disciplines that engage with the topic of peace in a meaningful fashion. 

The University Theme Committee is open to suggestions and all are welcome to attend our meetings.  We look forward to your participation with the University Theme.


In peace,

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

Professor of Anthropology, Sociology & Anthropology


Michelle Janisz

Director of Student Activities


Nancy Parsons

Associate Provost


Contact Info

University Union
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455

Phone: (309) 298-3232