What is Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR)?
ECAR is a higher-education initiative founded in 2015 at Guilford College in NC. Its mission is to partner every U.S. higher education institution (HEI) with local refugee resettlement agencies as co-sponsors to host refugees on campuses and support their resettlement. Its vision is to transform the landscape of refugee resettlement and higher education by creating thousands of sustainable resettlement campus ecosystems. ECAR’s primary goals are to:
1) leverage existing material and human resources at colleges and universities to provide welcome, resettlement, and integration support for refugees, and 2) provide powerful opportunities for community engagement and service learning for higher education institutions and transform U.S. students’ place-based and experiential learning practices with a focus on glocal and practical applications.
What makes colleges and universities especially well-suited to host refugees?
Campuses are like cities with everything necessary to welcome a refugee family and support their integration: housing, facilities, human resources and expertise in many areas, and a built-in cohesive community of welcome. ECAR has been adopted by public and private colleges and universities that have collectively hosted 200+ refugees.
How does ECAR work and what are its current activities?
An HEI partners with a local refugee resettlement agency, signing an MOU to delineate roles. The resettlement agency assigns a family to the HEI but remains responsible for overseeing the interaction. The HEI co-sponsor provides refugees with housing, utilities, and access to campus amenities. Trained/vetted volunteers from the campus and local community deliver case management support as well as cultural, social, and community integration support. HEIs engage in ethical practices to maintain dignity, agency, and privacy of hosted families while providing an educational opportunity to campuses and communities involved in the effort.
The co-sponsorship period lasts an average of five months or until the family integrates into the community and is financially stable. HEIs support the family in identifying desired off-campus housing at the end of the hosting period and support them in making the transition.
What are the costs associated with ECAR efforts?
1) housing and utilities vary based on the location of the institution and arrangement with the resettlement agency (generally $12k a year); some institutions have received funding for housing 2) part-time coordination through graduate assistantships, fellowships, internships, etc. Some ECAR chapters are run by faculty-advised student organizations at no cost or as a service-learning experience through a program or course; 3) resources for the families are typically raised through in-kind donations.
What support can Chapters expect from ECAR?
ECAR provides connections, resources, expertise, and funding. It helps to identify potential ECAR campuses, connect campuses with local refugee resettlement agencies, build partnerships between them, and develop and implement the program — hosting and curricular/co-curricular — through Best Practices, Trainings/Workshops, Manuals, Handbooks, etc.
What is co-sponsorship?
Co-sponsorship is a form of community sponsorship which “is a model of refugee resettlement where groups of individuals commit to providing clearly definite financial and/or in-kind contributions and volunteer services to support the welcome and integration of refugees” (https://www.state.gov/refugee-admissions/community-engagement-in-resettlement/)
To learn more, please contact Dr. Diya Abdo at email@example.com or visit www.everycampusarefuge.net. You can also check out our Best Practices Manual, Implementation Checklist At-A-Glance, and ECAR Member Benefits.