When more than half the country’s governors last week loudly called for a halt to Syrian refugee resettlement here, an English professor at Guilford College quietly continued building a shining city on a hill.
Diya Abdo’s “Every Campus a Refuge” initiative challenges campuses across the country to host one Syrian refugee family.
Abdo, herself the daughter of Palestinian refugees, sees campuses, with their residence halls, dining facilities, health centers, academic resources and close communities as perfect conduits to new lives. The Washington Post reports that Guilford anticipates the arrival of a refugee family early next year. The college has already identified several on-campus housing options, and a local grocery cooperative plans to offer a credit line for the family, with donations from the community, so that they can shop for free.
“It came from a deep desperation to do something material and immediate,” Abdo told the Post. “How can I use where I am, what I am, more deeply?”
Nearly a dozen schools have expressed interest in the program. As word spreads, many other colleges will step up – sending a far more welcoming and hopeful message to refugees worldwide.