UFV instructors and students use a symbol of war as a symbol of peace and solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
UFV faculty members Maciej Kaczor and Matt Olafson have created a “hedgehog” that can be seen at the edge of the Chilliwack campus near Vedder Park. A second, created by welding students Ian Lees and Josh McKenzie, sits near the main entrance to the Chilliwack campus.
What is a hedgehog?
In the wild, they are pretty little creatures with spiny bodies. In times of war, hedgehogs are pointed metal structures that hold invading tanks at bay.
The latter is inspired by the former, with both using thorns/spikes as a defensive measure.
“The idea is to deny mobility to the enemy while defending your territory,” Kaczor said in a conversation with UFV media and communications manager Anne Russell.
Kaczor and Olafson saw the hedgehog as the perfect symbol of war in Ukraine, with beleaguered Ukrainians defending their homeland from Russian invaders. Kaczor, a program technician at UFV’s Faculty of Applied and Technical Studies, is from Poland and said the conflict weighed heavily on him.
“I have Ukrainian friends, and they are now fighting to save their country,” he said.
Olafson, a welding instructor, worked with Kaczor to create the first hedgehog, which is mounted on a map of Ukraine. The words End War can be seen at the top with a Ukrainian symbol.
They challenged the entry-level students in UFV’s Welding Foundation program to do another one, and Lees and McKenzie stepped up.
“It was one of our first projects and an introduction to what we’ll be doing in the field,” says Lees. “It was a technically difficult project, but we are happy to be able to declare this war to be bad.”
Instructor Ed Williams said the students jumped at the chance, embracing the idea of doing something with a social conscience.
Kaczor said the students are proud to have their work on display.
“A lot of times what beginning welding students produce is repetitive and ends up in the trash because it’s just for practice,” he said. “So it was a special experience for them.”