University of Scranton Hosts Event on Refugee Resettlement

In February, the University of Scranton hosted “The Future of Refugee Resettlement”, an event hosted by the University of Scranton’s In Solidarity with Syria committee. The event consisted in a discussion with William Canny, executive director of Migration and Refugee Services for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Maggie Walsh, Scranton High School English as a Second Language teacher, both graduates of the University of Scranton. Their discussion focused on both the international challenges of refugees and the local manifestation of these issues in the Scranton community. Canny addressed the vetting process in place in the United States for refugees and the moral imperative to care for refugees. Walsh spoke to her personal experience of teaching refugee children and their struggles.

The In Solidarity with Syria committee is a coordinated advocacy effort involving university administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, and students to aid those affected by the current immigration crisis through education and advocacy.

Read the full article on the University of Scranton event here.

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University of Scranton is ‘In Solidarity with Syria’

Although a recent ACCU Peace and Justice blog post featured three Catholic colleges and universities’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis, many other Catholic colleges have been working to assist refugees and advocate on their behalf.

The University of Scranton has been strongly committed to aiding refugees abroad and in the U.S., advocating for peace and for greater acceptance of refugees into the U.S., and educating its students about the crisis and inspiring them to act.  The campus initiative In Solidarity with Syria seeks to combine advocacy and educational efforts.

President Kevin Quinn, SJ, wrote an editorial urging compassion for refugees in the Scranton Times-Tribune last fall.  He also wrote a letter to federal elected officials urging the U.S. government to address the refugee crisis.  He noted that the University was exploring how to help Syrian students interested in further education in the United States, as well as how to help refugee families that settle in the local community.

University alumni have also been extensively involved in the efforts to assist refugees. For example, Bill Canny ’77, H’07, as the executive director of Migration and Refugee Services at USCCB, has been working with DOS and the local Catholic Social Services to work towards doubling the 100,000 refugee ceiling that the government has set for 2017.

Another alumna, Elena Habersky ’13, has lived in Amman, Jordan, where she started teaching English as a Fulbright scholar and is now the program and administrative manager of Collateral Repair Project, a nongovernmental organization that helps refugees. Read about her experiences in her article “Bearing Witness: Stories from the Holy Land,” featured in America Magazine.

Finally, the university has been working hard to educate students on campus about the refugee crisis. Led by Anitra McShea, Ph.D., the vice provost for student formation and campus life, In Solidarity with Syria has taken off in various directions. The initiative has brought to the university activities such as The Refugee Simulation, in which participants walk through five stations that simulate the typical refugee experience. Students are then encouraged to learn about and work with refugees in the local community.

The University has also encouraged deeper academic and informal discussions on the refugee crisis and has implored its students, staff, and faculty to, as Dr. McShea puts it, “utilize [their] gifts, talents and collective resources (intellectual, fiscal) to serve those marginalized and persecuted in our global community.”

How has your college or university responded to the Syrian refugee crisis? Let us know! 

Peace & Justice in ACCU’s Spring Newsletter

Last week, ACCU released the Spring 2015 issue of Update, its quarterly newsletter. You can read it in its entirety here, but be sure to pay special attention to the sections devoted to peace and justice. These highlights include:

  • Scranton Students Learn Homelessness Firsthand by spending a day and night on the streets confronting similar challenges as those which persons experiencing homelessness may face.
  • Carlow Fights Hunger with Pottery by asking their art students to create clay bowls which patrons at a fundraising dinner use and then take home to remind them of the importance of fighting hunger.
  • Caldwell Students Serve in Belize and gain perspectives on poverty, priorities, and happiness.
  • Undocumented Students Appeal to Congress members who are alumni of Catholic colleges and universities by asking them to support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • Mount Saint Vincent Students Engage the World by participating in international service learning.
  • ‘Compassionate Competitor’ leads Spalding University to log 1.6 million service hours and engage with their charism.
  • Manhattan Professor Teaches the Holocaust and Islam by portraying them both as stories of faith and catastrophe.

 To subscribe to Update, please email Paula Moore.