North Texas Daily

Engaged Beyond Borders fundraising for international refugees

Engaged Beyond Borders fundraising for international refugees

Engaged Beyond Borders fundraising for international refugees
April 01
01:51 2014

Olivia Sylvain // Staff Writer

Students with an interest in raising awareness and funds for humanitarian causes can join Engaged Beyond Borders as they fundraise for international refugees and internally displaced people this semester.

EBB is a student-led organization that started in spring 2012. The members educate students on global issues and raise money for worldwide organizations.

President Colin Wood – an international studies junior – said the group chooses a different cause to support each year while still keeping other issues on the agenda.

“We try to cover a broad range of topics,” he said. “Yes, we’re still focused on refugees and IDPs, but we’re covering international sustainable development, trafficking and slavery, women’s education and empowerment and LGBT issues.”

This year, EBB is increasing awareness of refugees who have left their home country because of persecution to seek asylum in a foreign country.

Internally displayed people are those who have been removed from their homes but seek safety in other parts of their country of origin. EBB works to raise money for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a UN organization that focuses on aiding people seeking sanctuary.

EBB is planning a fundraising event for UNHCR April 23-24 called “Walk for Refugees.” The members will walk the distance that the average refugee has to walk when they are removed from their home, and will not be able to bring any excess supplies or water for the two-day walk. Wood hopes to open up the event to non-members and distribute more information about the cause.

Each EBB meeting is a chance for students to learn more about different humanitarian causes and how to get involved in supporting them. Wood and the EBB ambassadors spend time researching and preparing information to be presented to the general body each week.

International studies senior Erica Kim says she was drawn to the organization because she learned about unfamiliar issues and perspectives.

“I didn’t know anything about the plight of refugees before I came to this organization. You don’t have to be very knowledgeable about the subjects to come to EBB,” Kim said. “I really enjoy coming to meetings and every time I come I learn something new, so it’s been very beneficial for me.”

Vice president and French senior Maria Mendoza encourages students who want to help in any way to join EBB because they have the chance to volunteer and gain experience in different areas of humanitarian work.

“Usually it seems like a very daunting task, but we keep reminding [students] that we can’t do it without them,” Mendoza said. “We’re tired of seeing things the way they are and we want to do something about it even if it is just raising awareness and fundraising.”

EBB meetings are every Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Business Leadership Building room 060. They are open to all majors and classifications and will feature guest speakers and forums throughout the semester.

“After we do the presentations and we’ve had the speakers, our meetings become a place for open discussion about these important topics that aren’t a part of everyday conversations,” Kim said.

Feature photo: Director of the Office of  Sustainability Todd Spinks speaks at the weekly Engaged Beyond Borders meeting in the Business Leadership Building room 060 on Friday. EBB meets every Monday at 5 p.m. in the BLB to discuss international development and humanitarian aid. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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