Peace Corps Tribute Garden at Colorado State University

New roots planted for
Peace Corps Tribute Garden

Since the return to school, many students have walked past a new project being carefully crafted just outside one of Colorado State University’s most traveled areas. The Lory Student Center will soon have new flora, creating a peaceful space to pass through or study.

The circular path that leads around the new Peace Corps Tribute Garden takes visitors past a few different signs that explain the history and mission of the Peace Corps. Several large stones have been laid out to sit and admire the scenery of CSU’s campus and the garden itself.

According to the CSU Peace Corps Garden Tribute website, the purpose is “to celebrate CSU’s early and ongoing involvement with the foundation of the Peace Corps.”

Laura Thornes – Director, Education Abroad, Office of International Programs

We want people 80 years from now to remember this history and take pride and think about what’s their contribution to a global society,” Associate Director of Development for International Programs Laura Thornes said.

The garden will feature the unique history between CSU and the Peace Corps, which have had a relationship with each other since the Peace Corps was created.

There was a feasibility study in 1960, and it was commissioned by the federal government,” Thornes said. “CSU competed for it and actually got the grant, which meant that some of our researchers flew to 10 different countries on three continents in 30 days to research this question: … ‘If there was to be an international youth service corps, what would that look like?

Thornes added that the researchers went on to write a 334-page document used by former President John F. Kennedy to help frame the foundations of the Peace Corps.

“(The garden will) document some of its earliest history,” Thornes said. “It will also have different benches and plaques that recognize some individuals who were very transformed by the Peace Corps.”

Thornes said the garden will honor three of those researchers: Maurice Albertson, Pauline Birky-Kreutzer and Andrew Rice. Thornes said the Peace Corps wants this garden to encourage more young people to be globally engaged.

CSU ranks 11th among the top Peace Corps-producing colleges thanks to the help of Peace Corps Strategic Recruiter Chrissa Percival.

“Start out by browsing to search current openings and learn about serving in the Peace Corps,” Percival said. “Next, connect with your local recruiter to answer any questions, get insights into the process and help strengthening your application. Colorado State University’s early ties to the Peace Corps and historical ranking as a top Peace Corps Volunteer-producing college means we have a strategic campus recruiter right here.”

This garden will serve as a way to not only provide a pleasant resting place for students on campus but also to inform them. The CSU Peace Corps Tribute Garden will open Oct. 15 as a finale of this weekend’s Homecoming festivities.

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  • I had the pleasure of attending the dedication of the Garden. Offer RPCVs a nice brunchy spread, and they will come. And it didn’t hurt that the event took place on one of those perfect Northern Colorado October blue, crisp days. For me, the highlights of the event were the comments by daughters of Maury Albertson and Pauline Birky-Kreutzer. Maury was the driver for getting the assignment for the feasibility study, and Pauline was the detail person who got it to the finish line. Pauline was a force of nature. In another piece of her story, she stepped in as director for Pakistan when the fellow who had been appointed was quite undone by the realities of the country. Her temporary assignment lasted 2 years. But that’s another story (hunt up her book Peace Corps Pioneer: The Perils of Pauline Pauline Birky-Kreutzer for a full account). In all, a good addition to the Peace Corps story.

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