St. Ambrose University became the first campus in Iowa to join Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR).
ECAR is a higher-education initiative founded in 2015 at Guilford College; its founder Diya Adbo, Ph.D., believes in a radical reimagination of higher education and campus life. "A campus is organically well-suited to be a physical place of refuge in times of crisis," Abdo said. "A campus has everything necessary to function like a small city. We have housing, cafeterias, clinics, and plenty of human resources and connections to provide financial, social, and cultural support."
ECAR has furthered its mission to partner every U.S. higher education institution with local refugee resettlement agencies as co-sponsors to host refugees on campus and now has 16 chapters across the country - with St. Ambrose University being the first of its kind in Iowa.
As St. Ambrose prepares for the family's arrival this fall, the university has been actively forging meaningful partnerships throughout the community to aid in the family's integration. Various Quad Cities organizations and individuals have eagerly stepped forward to contribute their expertise, resources, and support to help renovate the St. Ambrose residence into a welcoming home, most notably Tapestry Farms, One-Eighty, Humble Dwellings, Humility Homes and Services, Inc., and John Deere.
"It's been very exciting to see a large number of faculty, staff, and students, who wish to engage in this process of welcoming a vulnerable family and raising awareness of the refugee crisis here on campus," said Nicky Gant, St. Ambrose Service & Justice Coordinator. "While we work to serve this family, there will be many opportunities for us to learn, grow, and live out our Ambrosian values as a campus community. I hope our participation in the ECAR program will educate and inspire students to live out these values as they graduate and go out into the world."
With the 20th Annual Ambrosians Working for Social Justice Conference centered around Radical Hospitality, the university is dedicated to actively dismantling barriers to belonging for individuals affected by immigration status, those on a recovery journey, or with a history of incarceration. The collaboration with ECAR is just the beginning.