Viktoria Barnes, an SLC professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Pathways wanted to help students impacted by the war in Ukraine in any way she could. New to SLC and not knowing all its innerworkings, she joined the Ukraine Working Group and started reaching out to community contacts. Through her work, she confirmed that members of the community are raising money through The Mayor’s Fund which is now dedicated as help for all Ukranian refugees, not just students. As always, anyone wishing to help SLC students specifically can donate to the SLC student emergency fund.
Through a Facebook connection, Viktoria learned of a student coming from Kyiv who will begin his studies here in September. Through the magic of social media, she met Jaime, a Ukrainian woman in Ottawa who met him at Montreal’s airport and drove him to Kingston. Viktoria connected with Barry Kennedy, SLC’s Residence Manager, who ensured he had a room to move into. Working with Pam Armstrong, SLC Business professor and her network of friends, they were able to get everything he would need in his room when he arrived, including a bicycle. He was also able to get a job at a local restaurant through connections he made through Carolina Palmer, International Student Advisor at SLC.
“I have taken him grocery shopping and to Walmart,” Viktoria said. “He was proud of himself that he could buy a pot and frying pan with his own money. We check in with each other every so often. He is very thankful to be here and has offered to help with any new Ukrainian students.”
Another student, Viktoria knows of is still in Kyiv and is due to arrive in Kingston in August and begin her studies. Viktoria will ensure she is also picked up at the airport and brought to Kingston, where Barry will have a room in residence waiting for her.
“I will continue helping them, and any other students who are affected by this war,” Viktoria said. “That is part of what I love about SLC, all the people who are willing to step up to the plate and help each other out. Coming from a refugee family myself, I know what they are experiencing.”
According to Carolina Palmer, International Student Advisor, summer students impacted by the war have been helped with tuition and housing, and tuition assistance will be in place for returning students this fall. Please inform any students you are working with that a new scholarship and financial relief bursary for new students in 2022 is also being established.
SLC’s Ukraine Working Group, the International Student Advisors, Kathy Doering, SLC’s Spiritual Care Facilitator, and student governments have been identifying student needs as they arise to help guide them into established networks for assistance. If you’re looking for a way to help, the need is urgent, and ongoing. Please donate to the SLC Student Emergency Fund. Click here to show your support.