WUSC upon a time

For those intent on criticizing the Students’ Union, rest assured that at least $0.50 of your SU fees are going to good use in partly subsidizing the Refugee Student Program.

On Jan. 14, the Refugee Student Board chose the student the University of Calgary will sponsor next year.The decision was made from six profiles forwarded by World University Services of Canada, an international organization that promotes education and global understanding, a goal the U of C chapter of WUSC bears in mind.

"In their first year, everything is provided for, like residence and a monthly allowance," said Kate Harper, a member of the WUSC executive."Last year’s student, Simon [Ajack], received a computer and a printer, so our students are set up pretty well."

Next year’s student, whose name cannot currently be revealed for confidentiality reasons, will be funded half by university funds and half by the SU’s Refugee Student levy.There are a number of individual sponsors as well, such as Peggy Patterson, Associate VP Student Affairs, whose department pays for the student’s first year of tuition and Pete Fraser, Director of Ancillary Services, whose department contributes $1,000 towards residence fees.

The Board, made up of SU staff, faculty, university staff and WUSC members, evaluated the six individuals’ dossiers to make a selection. Harper explained the challenge of picking one student.

"We had to set a number of criteria, such as gender, admissibility, age, their situation and their need to get out of their situation," she said. "It was just so hard [to make the selection], because living in North America, we don’t have the exposure to the same kinds of things that others do.It’s hard to say whose need was greater than the others."

While it is a substantial process, Ajack, who arrived in Calgary in August, is grateful for the Board’s time and effort.

"I was really, really happy. It was so great to be selected," said Ajack."Sometimes interviews and medical exams scare people, but they were actually quite easy. It’s great because I’ve had a lot of fun and made many new friends here."

Harper is a strong advocate of the program and hopes to see it continue.

"There have been times that we’ve had problems getting our students here, for various reasons," she said."Still, it’s a great experience. While [the Board was] satisfied with [its] decision, we would ideally like to invite all six people to the university."

For more information about WUSC visit www.wusc.ca.

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