The University of Northern British Columbia and the Northern Undergraduate Student Society (NUGSS) are partnering to offer full sponsorship for five refugees fleeing conflict and uncertainty in Syria.
The initiative will be run through the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC) Student Refugee Program that NUGSS has been involved with for 10 years. Through the program, UNBC students pay a small fee to NUGSS, which is used to sponsor a new refugee each year. Students volunteering with the WUSC Student Refugee Program Local Committee provide on the ground support to a new refugee student each year. Sponsorship provides support for four years and helps refugee students by providing a hand-up with their education and settlement in Canada.
In addition to the annual sponsorship by NUGSS, UNBC will contribute $180,000 to sponsor four Syrian refugee students through this program. This is possible because of the generosity of UNBC donors who have contributed to a special fund – the Area of Greatest Need (AGN). The AGN fund allows UNBC access to unrestricted funds to pursue unique and innovative opportunities that support students and help advance the University towards greater excellence.
“The Syrian refugee crisis is an acute situation. I commend our students for taking on a leadership role in support of their peers, our donors for supporting UNBC’s ability to be responsive through this initiative, and the community of Prince George for providing a welcoming environment,” said UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. “UNBC is a northern university with a global perspective; as such it is important that we respond to events such as this, and devise solutions that reflect the region we serve as well as provide education and opportunity for those who need it.”
“Students at UNBC are asking what they can do to act on the global challenges that affect us locally. We are pleased to have UNBC and donors help us do even more to meet these challenges,” said Duncan Malkinson Northern Undergraduate Student Society President.
Education has been demonstrated to be a critical factor in reducing humanitarian crises and protecting global citizens. More than 1,500 refugees have resettled in Canada, completed their studies and become Canadian Citizens since the SRP began in 1978, including seven at UNBC.
Those wishing to make a contribution to the AGN Fund may contact the UNBC Development Office at 250-960-5750 or make a gift online at www.unbc.ca/giving. All donations will be charitably receipted and will replenish the Fund so that UNBC can continue to be responsive to unique situations that support students through teaching and research.