Student Led Initiative Aims to Make College a Refuge for Syrian Family

Rachael Franchini ’19, Associate News Editor

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Senior college officials have denied a request for the college to sponsor a Syrian refugee family, but Nora Krantz ’18, the student leading the effort, hopes administration might reconsider their decision if the initiative finds more community support.

Krantz asked the Center for Service, Spirituality and Social Justice (CS3) and college President Nancy Roseman to support Dickinson joining Every Campus A Refuge, a nation-wide initiative that calls on colleges and universities to each provide one refugee family with housing during their resettlement.

“Unfortunately, [Dickinson] just [doesn’t] have the space to be able to commit to the program this year,” Roseman said to Krantz via email in response to the request.

Krantz heard about Every Campus A Refuge on the radio over Thanksgiving break and decided to take the initiative to bring the program to Dickinson.

“I thought ‘why not’ because [the displacement of Syrian refugees] is a relevant problem and it seems like it would be so easy to do something about it with the resources we have,” Krantz said.

Every Campus A Refuge was founded by Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C.  According the organization’s website, the students at the Quaker college were “inspired by the Pope’s call on every parish to host one refugee family.” Student leaders at Greensboro report that more than 30 schools across the country have expressed interest in becoming a refuge.

After she heard about the initiative, Krantz met with Director of Community Service and Religious Life Donna Hughes to discuss the feasibility of making Dickinson a refuge. Following the meeting, Krantz was optimistic about the initiative.

“It seemed like it was going to work,” Krantz said of her meeting with Hughes.

Krantz said that the members of her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, also supported the effort.

“My [involvement with Pi Beta Phi] would be a good way to get organizations involved and get backing from that,” Krantz stated.  “We would host events…we had a lot of interest from people in the sorority to help.”

After contacting Roseman, the initiative was brought to Dickinson’s senior leadership team to discuss the possibility of the college’s participation in the program. Roseman then contacted Krantz to report that the college did not have the resources. Krantz hopes that with enough resolve, the college community could find the funds necessary to sponsor a family.

“I think we could find resources,” Krantz said. “We have so many people here.…If it’s a question of who would have better resources, us or an immigrant family…it would be us.”

Krantz reported that the next steps to try to bring the initiative to campus is raising awareness about Every Campus A Refuge and educating the community on the program.

“If the school sees that the student body and community is pushing for it I don’t see how they could really refuse,” Krantz said.  “I want to get the community awareness first and then ask again…that might have more of an impact.”

“A lot of schools are doing it, and when I talked to the Center [CS3] about it, they said that a lot of [our peer] schools are doing it, so it seemed like it was going to work.  It just makes so much sense.”

Roseman and Hughes could not be reached for comment by print time.