As the estimates of refugees and displaced persons in Ukraine continue to grow, humanitarian organizations have increasingly needed more supplies to respond to the crisis. Across Western Ukraine, strangers have welcomed fellow Ukrainians fleeing violence into their homes. Schools have become refugee centers, and teachers and other volunteers are preparing care packages for soldiers and refugees.
In March, Emily Gams, a former CREECA staffer who worked in Ukraine for three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, organized a campus-wide humanitarian initiative to collect supplies to send to Ukraine via Meest America’s humanitarian operation.
Gams and fellow graduate students in the La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Slavic PhD program set up various drop-sites around campus, including the CREECA office. And over UW-Madison’s spring break, volunteers packaged 30 boxes of medical supplies, hygiene products, and other items for the people of Ukraine.
To cover shipping costs initially estimated at $1,800, the group of UW-Madison graduate students then held a Ukrainian Bazaar, an April 15 fundraising event where Van Hise Hall passersby could purchase donuts and win prizes by answering trivia questions about Ukraine. Ultimately, the volunteers raised sufficient funds to send over 640 pounds of supplies to Ukraine. With the surplus funds raised, they donated an additional $600 to Razom for Ukraine.
“We truly could not have done it without all of your help!” said Gams.
Meanwhile, leftover pins, magnets, and stickers of the Ukrainian flag were then shared with more than 70 undergraduate students at the April 25 “Understanding Ukraine: A Panel for All.” The student-moderated panel aimed to help undergraduate Badgers learn about the depth and breadth of Russia’s war on Ukraine from UW-Madison faculty members:
- Łukasz Wodzyński German, Nordic, and Slavic+)
- Michael Wagner (School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Political Science, and the La Follette School of Public Affairs)
- Dave Schroeder (Computer, Data & Information Sciences and the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium)
- Paul Wilson (Engineering Physics)
- Kathryn Hendley (Political Science & the Law School)
- B. Venkat Mani (German and the Institute for Research in the Humanities)
- Mark Copelovitch (Political Science and the La Follette School of Public Affairs)
- Jon Pevehouse (Political Science)
“The panelists were wonderful,” said L&S Honors academic advisor Pete Keys. “The event began with each panelist sharing key takeaway all Badgers should know about the war and proceeded to an exceptionally engaging Q&A. The panelists responded to student questions and to each other.”
Written by Ryan Goble | Communications Project Assistant | CREECA