Unsheltered events bring attention to refugee crisis
Lee University presented Unsheltered, a series of events throughout the month of February 2017 inviting students to discuss the global refugee crisis.
On Feb. 16, students crowded the SMC Lecture Hall to listen to the perspectives of panelists who’ve had unique, personal experiences with the refugee experience.
The panel included two students from Lee, Myka Smith and Emily Martin.
Both have experience with refugees in European camp settings. Smith spoke about her interaction with refugees in Germany, and Martin shared her personal experience with refugee families in Austria.
“The people I met and shared meals with in the refugee camp were genuinely some of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever met,” Martin said.
Attendees also heard from Augustine Bocco, a political asylee from Togo. Bocco was granted political asylum by the United States after already residing in the country, unlike the traditional refugee.
Bocco shared his story, which began in the violent and corrupt culture of Togo. Upon arriving in the United States, he began his higher education journey at Lee University and ended with a PhD from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
The panel concluded with a photo presentation about refugees from Matthew and Kristin Turvin. The Turvins partnered with Samaritan’s Purse through World Race to provide support to refugees arriving on the shores of Greece.
Alicia Sullivan, a student at Lee, attended multiple Unsheltered events. She said she enjoys the initiative Lee took in leaning into the issue.
“I appreciate that we took time to continue the incredibly important conversation about this complex issue. There’s so much value in hearing people’s personal experiences, especially when it comes to controversial issues,” Sullivan said.
Unsheltered raised awareness of refugee issues and money for Bridge Refugee Services in Chattanooga. To find out how to get involved with Bridge Refugee Services, visit bridgerefugees.org.