During September 28 through to October 2, the World University Service of Canada committee at UTM held Refugee Awareness Week. UTMSU VP External Henry Ssali and other committee members set up a table in the CCT building to inform students about the program, encourage volunteerism and raise money.
On Wednesday, students were encouraged to Eat like a Refugee for 24 hours. At noon, participants were given a small meal of rice and salad, resembling the food that would be provided at a refugee camp.
Other fundraising initiatives included a bake sale at the Student Centre, where cupcakes were sold for 50 cents onwards and portraits drawn by fourth-year art history student Steve Khan were sold for $5.
Students also had the opportunity to sign up and camp out on campus to support the cause. On Wednesday night, Ssali and a few supporters set up tents for the Live like a Refugee event. Seven students braved two chilly nights next to the Kaneff Building to raise awareness on the living conditions of refugees.
Some onlookers were sceptical about how camping out in a tent for a night benefited refugees. Others disagreed. It seems like a small thing to sit in a tent for a night, but everything accumulates when many people come together. We achieve big results, said first-year student Stephen Wright.
Refugee Awareness Week raised $850 during the week. Ssali was thrilled with the response from students. The Refugee Awareness Week has been awesome as far as educating UTM students on the various issues that refugees face. Such actions of compassion from students are so humbling and they make me continue to serve my fellow students with
passion, Ssali said.