Did you know that your college or university could offer curricular components that allow students to receive credit for the work of hosting refugees on your campus and supporting them in their resettlement? Below is an example of an entire minor that is currently being offered at Guilford College. However, adaptations of this — especially as single courses, independent studies, internships, or graduate assistantships — allow colleges and universities to leverage existing classes and programs so that students can implement Every Campus A Refuge as credit-bearing community engagement.
Every Campus A Refuge: A PPSE (Principled Problem Solving Experience) Minor
Program Director: Dr. Diya Abdo, Ph.D.
Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) is an initiative that mobilizes college and university campus resources (within and without the institution’s physical borders) to provide housing and other forms of assistance to refugees seeking resettlement in the institution’s local area. In partnership with local resettlement agencies, universities and colleges can make a big difference in refugee resettlement in terms of numbers of refugees resettled, quality of resettlement and the shaping of public discourse around refugees and immigrants. The ECAR PPSE minor formalizes the educational components of the initiative and engages students in disciplinary, interdisciplinary and place-based experiences that facilitate: 1) learning about forced displacement and (im)migration 2) centralizing the voices, agency and perspectives of (im)migrants and forcibly displaced individuals 3) participation in the place-based educational processes of resettlement and community building 4) emphasis on the nature and significance of organizing and advocacy. In short, the ECAR PPSE minor will engage the students in learning about the issues of forced displacement, the individuals who experience it, and the methods by which some of its various problems can be addressed.
The minor requires a minimum of 16 credit hours:
- Required: PPS 150: Every Campus A Refuge I (2 credits). Offered in Fall ’17 and ’18.
- Required: PPS 250: Every Campus A Refuge II (2 credits). Offered in Spring ’18 and ’19. Prerequisite for this course is PPS 150: Every Campus A Refuge
- Choose ONE of the following courses focused on understanding the causes for forced displacement and (im)migration:
- PPS 250: Genocide (4 credits). Offered in Spring ’18.
- JPS 336: Understanding Oppressive Systems (4 credits). Offered in Spring ‘18.
- Choose ONE of the following courses focused on the voice, agency and perspectives of (im)migrants and displaced individuals:
- ENGL 350: Immigrant and Refugee Literature (4 credits). Offered in Fall ’17.
- IDS 421: Border Crossings (4 credits). Offered in Spring ‘19.
- Choose ONE of the following courses focused on building community, advocacy, organizing:
- PPS 110: Intro to Civic Engagement (4 credits). Offered in Fall ‘17 and ’18.
- JPS 103: Community Problem Solving (4 credits). Offered in Fall ’17.
- JPS 220: Community Building Fundamentals (4 credits). Offered in Spring ’18.
In PPS 150: Every Campus A Refuge I students will:
- Engage in 10-15 hours of conversational interactions with Syrian refugees through NaTakallam (https://natakallam.com/)
- Receive training from our partnering resettlement agency (CWS) and community partner NAI (New Arrivals Institute).
- Learn about various topics related to refugeeism, forced displacement, im(migration), and resettlement through guest lectures as well as weekly discussion meetings and written reflections.
In PPS 250: Every Campus A Refuge II students will:
- Select/generate an inter/disciplinary advocacy, problem solving or other type of ECAR engagement project (creating public narratives, building on best practices, social media generation, participating in research and impact studies, outreach about ECAR/public policy issues, advocacy for refugee and immigrant rights, fundraising, building/organizing community partnerships, organizing and holding educational events etc.) to be completed by the end of the semester and which they can present at the Guilford Undergraduate Symposium or elsewhere and on which future students can build.
- Volunteer for 40 hours for the semester with the ECAR families or other CWS clients. This includes, but is not exclusive to, participation in the various aspects of hosting the family and implementation of resettlement tasks.
The various elements of the minor are designed to educate the students on the what/why of forced displacement, (im)migration and refugeeism (the classes they take and the guest lectures they hear); centralize the agency, perspective and individuality of those who experience refugeeism, forced displacement and (im)migration (the classes focused on primary narratives, the ECAR guests they volunteer with, and the conversation partners); how we can collectively address the problems of forced displacement and refugeeism and the resettlement of (im)migrants (classes on organizing, civic engagement and community building); doing the work of principled problem-solving (hosting, resettling, advocacy and the programmatic ECAR projects).