Student Organizations Serve Local Refugees
In response to an increased need in the Chattanooga, Tenn., community, two student-led organizations at Southern Adventist University have partnered with local non-profits working with refugees.
The Middle Eastern Club, which formed last school year, joined with Adventist Muslim Friendship Association to hold a family fun day for refugee families in the area.
Approximately 25 refugee families from various Middle Eastern countries participated, along with 15 Southern students. The students, who took part in cultural training beforehand, visited with the families and helped facilitate games for the children.
Southern’s Adventist Peace Fellowship chapter, also a student-run organization, recently began volunteering with Bridge Refugee Services. Isabella Eklund, junior social work major and club president, explains that the students felt impressed to partner with a refugee agency after Taliban militants took over Afghanistan early this semester.
“After seeing how quickly people’s lives can get uprooted, we decided we wanted to help care for refugees,” Eklund said. “We want to be a welcoming community for them.”
So far, the group has helped Bridge Refugee Services organize storage and conduct a charity drive to collect basic household items for refugee families entering East Tennessee.
“Serving those who have been displaced is so important, Eklund said. “We want to maintain our care for the community through this critical work.”
Southern Adventist University | December 2021