By Eva Haishun
Expecting something to happen sometimes does not eliminate the surprise of it. Any war comes as a shock to the people living through it, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine has left many stunned. This is especially evident in Europe, where millions of war refugees are seeking safety and shelter. Volunteers from all over the world have stepped up to help the Ukrainian people fight for their freedoms. During these difficult times, small actions made by millions are more helpful than the grand gestures achieved by the few. Therefore it is crucial that all institutions must do their best and contribute to the best of their abilities.
Following the news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the University responded by hosting a teach-in on Feb. 28 to help explain the events from international law, historical and US foreign policy perspectives. The one-hour session was attended by at least 50 faculty, students and staff in person and about 161 on Zoom. This teach-in was also recently featured on Fox News. Presenters included Katie Laatikainan, acting chair of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences. She said of the event, “What we hope students take away from this is an openness to exploring different perspectives to try and understand challenging events on the world stage and global agenda.”
These conversations are essential to have in order to understand the implications this war may have on everyday life, and they can also encourage community members to help people in crises. As noted by Ryan Hughes, a sophomore interviewed for Fox News, “We're living in history, not something since World War II. It’s kind of unheard of for big nations to be invading each other or attacking at this scale.”
While understanding the war is the first step, taking action is the next. Thousands of organizations and businesses are helping Ukrainians in their fight against Russia through donations to their army, aiding refugees, as well as providing resources for territorial defense. Adelphi has also been helping to simplify the process for students. #UNITEDFORUKRAINE Donation Box Drive was available through March 31 for anyone who wants to help. Millions of people are in desperate need of clothing items, socks, medicine, food, diapers, sneakers, underwear and pet food. Even though millions of people are affected by the war, animals, domestic or wild, also suffer the consequences. Therefore, anything in good shape may help someone overseas survive the day at war.
Ukraine is the largest country in Europe after Russia. Ukrainian cultural heritage is the world's priceless treasure. As Russian troops now destroy the churches and theaters, cultural monuments that have been constructed for generations get buried into the ground. Understanding the conflict without digging into the cultural and historical background is impossible. Therefore, the university is eager to help here as well.
Today from 11 am to 2 pm, AU POLAK will be selling handmade ribbons for a dollar. All donations will be sent to the Ukrainian Church in Lindenhurst.
Also this month there will be a student-led benefit concert. Students and faculty will be able to see photos and videos taken by photo-journalists during the war in Ukraine. The exhibition in the UC will last for a week and there will also be a cultural event to showcase the Ukrainian cultural heritage.
According to one of the organizers, Angelina Kolobukhova, “During these difficult times, everyone should do what they can. We have decided to organize an event that will shed light on the horrors of war, and we hope that by raising awareness, we will be able to gather help for those in need right now.”
There will also be a fundraiser for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which is now helping those affected by war. The link will be available for anyone to contribute to university tickets. Further updates with the location and dates will be emailed soon.
During a time of war, any contribution counts, and Adelphi University is providing options for students and faculty to get involved. Ukraine is fighting for their freedom and millions have lost their homes. There are many ways for the Adelphi community to get involved and help those in need right here on campus.