Unrest in various parts of the world has caused great hardship for an increasing number of people from a diverse background. These refugees are forced to uproot and flee, often with nothing more than what they carry on their back. In the uncertain future these displaced families and individuals now face there is often little hope for any form of advanced education. BU should be proud in the knowledge that it is not resting in complacent disregard of the suffering of the persecuted and abandoned, but instead adopts a proactive role in providing a brighter future to the oppressed. Our local committee of World University Service of Canada (WUSC) received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Student Refugee Program (SRP) at the WUSC CECI international forum in Ottawa this month. This award distinguishes our local committee as a shining model for the 80+ committees across Canada.
The SRP is the main initiative of our local WUSC committee, and as the President of WUSC here on campus Mr. Parker Easter says, “this award indicates that, while the committee is always looking to improve and find new means to aid the disenfranchised, it is on the right track”. The Program offers financial aid to refugees from around the globe to come and commence their post secondary education here at BU. These new residents of the True North face many challenges in transitioning to life in Brandon. This reporter can personally attest to the difficulty and discomfort one experiences in trying to establish a new life here, especially during that first winter. To ensure that our new classmates aren’t disadvantaged as a result of this culture shock, WUSC at BU was the first in Canada to set up a Mentorship Program. This Program partners experienced B.U.sians with students in the SRP to guide and aid them through their time at BU. It was this initiative along with programs designed to provide support in the areas of money management (jointly with ENACTUS), food handling safety, and transportation that led to the recognition of their tremendous work at the forum in Ottawa.
The work that BU’s WUSC committee is able to accomplish is limited to the scope of their support. While they do enjoy the backing of the local community, more can always be done. If you are looking to step up and lend a helping hand here is how: Their next meeting is on Monday February 12th at 5:00PM in the down under (under cafeteria) if you are interested in attending to learn more shoot the President an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also looking for mentors of 3 new students next year, more info on this will be sent to your school email account. Clubs are also welcomed to partner with WUSC if they wish to. If you don’t have the time for such commitment I’m sure just voicing your support is also appreciated.