WUSC Local Committees raise awareness on forced migration while highlighting the impact of the WUSC Student Refugee Program (SRP) through Mock Refugee Camp(us) events.
Blue tarp, white tents, and colourful clotheslines: those are just some of the visual cues WUSC Local Committees are using to set up a Mock Refugee Camp(us) in their University centers, cafeterias and lawns. Nipissing University, the University of Calgary and the University of Regina Local Committees each organized their own Mock Refugee Camp(us), which caught the eye of many curious students.
“Our event was a success because of where we held it and the support we received from our international office” confirms Lisa Page, Nipissing University Local Committee member in North Bay, Ontario.
“We set up our Mock Refugee Camp(us) in our main cafeteria, so there was high traffic and lots of talk about it! We set up pictures from each camp that WUSC sponsors students from, and we also had former sponsor student stories posted at our "camp".”
An interactive Mock Refugee Camp(us) gives Canadians more than just a glimpse on the realities of living in a refugee camp. With the help of SRP sponsored students, the University of Regina Local Committee set up informative tents and served free rice and beans to talk to students about the challenges of forced displacements.
At Nipissing University, students stayed in the mock camp overnight as a way of showing the restricted movement in refugee camps.
The Mock Refugee Camp(us) was also a great way for LCs to promote the SRP’s impact on refugee students. Since 1978, the SRP has been helping young men and women come to Canada to attend post-secondary institutions and achieve their educational goals.
Is your Local Committee thinking of holding one on your campus? Rachel Reesor of Nipissing University recommends you have the support of your Student Union and Campus security to make it easier. Don’t forget to enlist inspiring speakers (professors, community members) as well as former refugee students who are willing to give more context on what it is like to live in a refugee camp and go to school. As former sponsored student Yves Kalala explained to the CBC in a radio interview, a Mock Refugee Camp(us) really is a “great opportunity to give a practical example of what a refugee camp is”.
Here are Nipissing University’s top 3 tips to organize a great Mock Refugee Camp(us).
1. Make it attractive! Have lots of pictures and stories from the camps so that students can have a more complete picture of what it's like.
2. Get the media involved to spread the awareness beyond the student population and in the community:
- Students set up Refugee Camp at U of R (November 28 2012, Regina, Global News)
- Mock Refugee Camp Opens Students Eyes (December 2012, North Bay Nugget)
- Former Refugee Shares Story in North Bay (December 2012, North Bay CBC Radio Interview)
3. Invite speakers such as former sponsor students, professors or community members (they can also Skype in!)
Check-out University of Guelph Local Committee’s take on organizing a Mock Refugee Camp(us) and other ways to raise awareness about the SRP.
SRP Training Video – Raising Awareness (IMAGE LINK)
Contact us for ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org