Katie Hawker and Jasmine McMillen are the co-chairs of TRU’s World University Service of Canada (WUSC) club. The club has been hosting fundraisers since last year to try and bring a refugee student to TRU’s campus. Their latest fundraiser hopes to bring a refugee student to campus.
Hawker says that the club hopes to have this program implemented at TRU for the fall of 2017. She said that as a student it can be hard to feel like you’re making a difference, but this is just one of the ways students can help.
“We just feel as students, we really want students to be involved in this global refugee crisis and we feel this is a great for students at TRU to take some responsibility for what’s happening around the world,” Hawker said.
McMillen adds that this refugee crisis isn’t going to resolve itself anytime soon, and that with the existing international community on campus it makes sense to take the project on.
“WUSC has been in Canada for over 35 years but this is the second year it’s been at TRU. We just felt, due to the increasing refugee crisis, this is something that TRU should take on. We have such a huge international community and we just think it fits with our values and the community that we already have,” McMillen said.
Hawker says that schools don’t usually fundraise but that the club will continue to do so until they can form a different relationship with TRU.
“How this program usually works at other schools is, it’s usually run through the student union or through administration. This program is students sponsoring students. So usually students each contribute a dollar, it can go from a dollar to $5, each year off their tuition, [which] is a little bit more sustainable,” Hawker said.
The club hopes to get a program like this in place, to ensure its sustainability and that it continues after they graduate.
“We’re hoping to get some kind of funding in place like that, just to help it. So, once we graduate and once we’re gone, the program can still be in place and we can always have that extra aspect of diversity here at TRU,” Hawker said.
It costs approximately $25,000 to sponsor a refugee student for one year.
“That price is including literally everything. That’s food, tuition, rent, clothing, that’s a phone, that’s transportation,” McMillen said.
The club will be hosting another fundraising event at the end of this month at Cascade Casino. Tickets will go for $15 and that will get you a burger and a beer. The event will have live music, a raffle and a great cause behind it.
“In an issue that seems so huge, and you feel so helpless, it’s a really small community way to feel like you’re making a difference,” McMillen said.
The club has raised about $5,700 of their $25,000 goal, but is hopeful that they can put this program into action next year. To donate to the campaign, you can attend one of WUSC’s upcoming events or donate to the TRU Student Refugee Program through the TRU Foundation website.