The Educational Component

Every Campus a Refuge aims to assist refugees both in the short term and in the long term and to assist one family directly and many families indirectly. By housing a refugee family on campus grounds and assisting them in resettlement, we are directly assisting this family for their 90 day Reception and Placement period and beyond, as the family sees fit.

Original artwork by Laura Todd

However, by engaging students in Every Campus a Refuge, we can teach our students skills in their discipline as well as assist refugees more broadly and in more long-term ways through a place-based education model.  For example, at Guilford, English students are: 

  • Researching the refugee crisis and the resettlement process and creating web-content. This will hone students’ research skills as well as the skill of writing for public audiences. 

Other students are: 

  • Working on the logistics of the effort as well as the planning of events and resettlement tasks. 

But more concretely, it would make sense to have students, whether they are directly assisting the family or not: 

  • Research the resettlement process in the area so as to better understand and change or improve it. 
  • Study health care needs or affordable housing issues so as to better understand and improve these. 

Students can do this as part of an independent study or as part of existing courses that are related to issues of: 

  • public policy, 
  • immigration, 
  • refugee conditions, 
  • health care, etc. 

In this way, students can learn about the refugee and resettlement process while the campus assists the family without taxing or exploiting the family. This is a great opportunity for a campus to do several things: 1) Materially and directly assist a family in resettlement. 
2) Educate the community on refugee and immigrant issues and create opportunities for community bonding and collaboration. 
3) Students learn about the ways in which resettlement happens in their city and the possible challenges and obstacles that newcomers (refugees and immigrants) face and explore principled ways of solving such problems.

This is just a very basic idea of how such an initiative can allow for a deep and principled education to happen on and off campus. Every institution can adapt this to its own vision, needs and resources and in a way mindful of the family’s dignity and individual needs.