By Professors Antonella Regueiro and Joanna Sackel
In a demonstration of support for the people of Ukraine, Lynn University students and faculty prepared events to spread awareness about the unfolding crisis and to find tangible ways to support humanitarian efforts on the ground.
Student Nadia Volkova came up with the idea for a Ukraine fundraiser and approached Lynn’s Social Impact Lab for help in executing it. The event, which took place on April 19, included a guest speaker to educate the Lynn community on the conflict, and a fundraising event to help a nonprofit organization working directly with people in Ukraine.
Maryna Prykhodko, who worked for the United Nations as a liaison for women in Ukraine and is currently a full-time advocacy specialist for Razom for Ukraine, met with students, faculty and staff. Prykhodko provided a cohesive explanation of the conflict and the subsequent humanitarian needs.
In tandem, students tabled at the University Center Living Room sold sunflowers, potted plants, raffle tickets and baked goods for the cause. Faculty members Drs. Gormely and Wright volunteered their talents by baking delicious sweets and crocheting handmade items, respectively. In total, the event raised over $500 for Razom for Ukraine, a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to provide supplies to displaced persons in the country.
According to Volkova:
“This fundraiser was an opportunity for me to take action and shine a light on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Not only did we raise money, but we also handed out postcards that promoted peace. I was delighted to see how supportive the Lynn community was throughout the entire day.”
One week after the fundraiser, Dr. Leilani Baumanis collaborated with Professors Sackel and Bissoondatt, the Social Impact Lab and the College of Business and Management to create an educational panel on the conflict. Two classes attended the event at the Snyder Idea Lab, with more joining the event via Zoom. The panel included war correspondent Sarah Williamson, and Ukrainian professors Dr. Vasyl Taras and Dr. Natalia Kochkina.
These esteemed panelists shared personal accounts of the conflict and illuminated key points about the region’s complicated history. The panelists were specifically asked about how this crisis has affected women, children and refugees.
“These amazing panelists shared with students not only the deeply gut-wrenching images of this conflict, but also the widespread and long-term consequences,” said Professor Sackel.
These two events increased awareness of the conflict in Ukraine, educating both faculty and students about the historical and cultural context and the ongoing humanitarian crisis.