By: Robbi Canning
With more and more people tuning into social media, knowledge and information becomes readily available and easily shared. Fear not, this means not only a bombardment of Buzzfeed videos and personality quizzes, for it also helps create a global consciousness and, in an exciting twist, this awareness of global issues and crises becomes cool! So maintain your hipster highbrow wisdom and keep reading!
One student university organization that has been involved in global activism since way back (in 1920) is WUSC – the World University Service of Canada. UPEI’s local division is chaired by Katie VanLeeuwen, who provided details about WUSC’s focus and goals. WUSC plays a very important role in helping refugee students who possess the abilities to succeed in Canadian universities with the opportunity to do just that. To date, 1500 refugee students have been sponsored through WUSC and its programs, with local committees existing in 55 universities across Canada. WUSC committee members do everything from organize refugee awareness events, to meet refugee students at the airport, and help make the transition process as seamless as possible. So what does this mean to UPEI students, you ask?
Each year each UPEI student pays $3 of their tuition toward WUSC fees. These fees, along with support from the university, the bookstore, Chartwells, etc. amount to the funding of one refugee student per year. With the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis becoming one of the largest refugee exoduses in history, the UPEI WUSC committee is hopeful to raise these $3 tuition fees to $10, allowing them to fund two additional students per year.
VanLeeuwen stated that they will of course be putting together a survey for students to have the opportunity to voice their opinion of this small tuition increase. She also mentioned the WUSC UPEI committee’s intention to hold many awareness events throughout the school year. VanLeeuwen finished on a high note, wishing for positivity surrounding WUSC’s endeavors, saying, “We are excited about the potential impact we could have on the lives of refugees, but we want all UPEI students to be excited too!”
For more information about WUSC and it’s local committee at UPEI visit wusc.ca or https://www.facebook.com/UPEIWUSC?fref=ts
And for those feeling eager, check out this animated video about the Syrian crisis: http://www.vagabomb.com/The-Syrian-Refugee-Crisis-Explained-Perfectly-With-a-Simple-Animation-Video/
Or this BBC News articles outlining eight steps to understanding the Syrian Civil War: