Marquette Wire

Campus organizations, Catholic Relief Services offer students ways to aid Syrian refugees

Photo+by+Maryam+Tunio%2Fmaryam.tunio%40marquette.edu
Photo by Maryam Tunio/maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

Photo by Maryam Tunio/maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Photo by Maryam Tunio/maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

Jennifer Walter, Science & Technology Reporter

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Campus Ministry, The Center for Peacemaking and Catholic Relief Services teamed up for a campus fundraiser, lasting until the end of the semester, to support refugees of the Syrian Civil War.

Donations will be collected at campus Masses, online and through the Campus Ministry office. The idea for the fundraiser began when student leaders of Marquette’s Ignite program decided they wanted to do something to help Syrian refugees. The Syrian Civil War started in 2011 and thousands of refugees have fled Syria this year.

“Our Ignite team is really personally inviting students (to donate),” said Steve Blaha, assistant director of Campus Ministry.

Mary Holt, a graduate health sciences student and co-director of Ignite, was inspired to start something on campus after seeing her mother collect donations and supplies for a relief mission in Cincinnati.

“Seeing my mom’s passion for this cause made me think, ‘What can Marquette, a Catholic, Jesuit university, do to live out its mission and help these people in need?’” Holt said in an email.

Sherri Walker, program coordinator at the Center for Peacemaking, is confident that students will be able to raise sufficient funds for and awareness of Syrian refugees due to active student involvement so far. A total of the funds raised has not been counted yet.

“The students at Marquette care and are generous,” Walker said in an email.

A Candygram sale will be held today and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Lalumiere Language Hall, with all proceeds benefitting the fundraiser.

Holt said the Ignite leaders decided to partnered with Catholic Relief Services because of its past partnership with Campus Ministry and close connection with Marquette’s value system.

CRS is a United States Catholic outreach organization with an international outlook and dedication to help with international relief services.

According to Blaha, CRS is one of the best organizations at meeting needs on the ground as they are, empowering local leaders and creating long-term solutions.

“They are one of the most effective and efficient organizations in the world as far as percentage of per-dollar amounts that goes to people in need,” Blaha said.

A 2014 CRS financial report stated that 92 percent of its annual budget goes to CRS programs that benefit the poor overseas.

The Center for Peacemaking also supports a campus ambassador program that gets students involved with CRS.

“Marquette has one of the most active and robust CRS ambassadors programs in the nation,” Walker said.

Student ambassadors are invited to Global Campus Partner seminars, workshops, prayer vigils and other advocacy efforts. Some have the opportunity to go overseas to visit sites where resources are donated.

“Through this partnership, students are learning to apply their faith in responding to the needs of some of most vulnerable people and the world,” Walker said. ​

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