On November 1st, Dr. Diya Abdo and Guilford College junior Ree Ree Wei attended the University Alliance for Refugees and At-Risk Migrants Second Annual Gathering at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Wei is a Forced Migration and Resettlement Studies minor, as well as an ECAR volunteer. The conference focused on ways students and other university personnel could support refugees and at-risk migrants through safe and sustainable means.
Dr. Abdo and Wei facilitated a session on ECAR’s practices. Wei expanded on her experiences as an ECAR volunteer.
“Volunteering for ECAR is rewarding and fun. I get to build trust and friendships in a short amount of time with our guests, and we stay connected to them once they leave campus.” Wei said.
Wei was also in attendance at the UN conference in January of this year. She found the UARRM conference to be more hands-on and interactive. She was impressed with the attendance of deans and other administrative university figures and felt hopeful that they were willing to learn from students.
Students involved in Lafayette College’s ECAR chapter (located in Easton, PA) were in attendance, among many other refugee and migrant support organizations. The ECAR founder spent time talking to Lafayette’s chapter about best practices, problem-solving and learning about how they sustain a completely student-run organization. Wei was particularly impressed with another student-run organization at Rutgers University, RU Dreamers.
“The organization received $3 million from a New Jersey state legislator to fund the educations of undocumented students at Rutgers. I was impressed with the ways they were able to work with not just the school’s community, but the broader community of parents, business owners, and other community members. They did a good job of utilizing community powers and not just the institution’s powers.” Wei said.
ECAR is an asset-based community of practice that harnesses the power of community resources and organizations to support vulnerable communities. To learn more about our work and how your campus can become a refuge, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.