newsjmu joins odu in support of compassionate refugee resettlement

JMU joins ODU in support of compassionate refugee resettlement

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James Madison University is continuing its commitment to serving as a community anchor institution and to innovative student learning by becoming an official Every Campus A Refuge chapter.

As the 14th ECAR chapter nationwide and only the second in Virginia, after Old Dominion University, JMU is expanding its support of compassionate refugee resettlement.

Every Campus A Refuge was founded at Guilford College by Diya Abdo in 2015. The effort calls on colleges and universities to partner with local refugee resettlement agencies to house refugees on campus grounds and assist them in resettlement.

The idea is that university and college campuses have everything necessary – housing, food, care, skills, to take in refugees and support them as they begin lives in their new homes.

“Becoming an ECAR campus not only improves the quality of life in Harrisonburg for refugees, more fully integrating them into the fabric of the community, but it also bolsters the education of JMU students and serves our civic mission,” said Steve Grande, director of community service-learning at JMU. “One of the developments we’re really excited about is creating a new grant-funded summer internship program where students will provide transition support to recently arrived refugee families temporarily residing on campus.”

The university assists refugees with public transportation, mail services, and English conversation and other support.

“Becoming an ECAR chapter campus not only acknowledges good works by so many faculty members, students, and community members, but it also spotlights that there is so much more we can do when JMU and Harrisonburg join together in a civic commitment to making a welcoming community where everyone can thrive,” said Grande.


Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.