Emily Worline developed the Refugee Outreach Collective program in May 2016. This program connects receiving communities with resettling people through volunteering, fundraising, and advocacy work. Members of their collegiate initiative work with, learn from, and advocate alongside those who have experienced displacement.
In the 2018 fall semester, senior Emily Kent, got the ROC program approved on Adrian College’s campus. The ROC program meets every Wednesday at 6:30 pm in the Vivian Conference Room. The ROC program offers a pen pal program through WhatsApp for anyone to join. If people are unable to make meeting times, they are more than welcome to join and participate.
“During school last year,” Kent said. “Dr. Field had offered a class that helped students learn about the current refugee crisis and the origins of it. In the class, we were all assigned different schools in Michigan to research to see what organizations they were offering that helped reach out to others about this in crisis.”
Kent was in touch with Kalamazoo College and was able to learn more about the organization. “We were able to have one of the founders, Emily Worline, come right to our class and speak with about the organization. After listening to Worline, I knew that I wanted to start a ROC chapter at Adrian.”
The ROC program is a non-profit organization. By being a non-profit organization, Kent’s biggest goal for the members in the Adrian chapter is to become educated on an on-going crisis that is becoming bigger each day.
“The goal is to break the stereotype that surrounds refugees and those experiencing displacement,” Kent said. “In today’s society, there are many stereotypes that surround them and give them a bad reputation and makes them unwanted in America, or even in other countries. I want the members to be able to go out into the world with this information and advocate for those who are experiencing displacement.”
Kent began setting up this organization last semester by laying out all the groundwork and making the connections they need.
“As president, I want to get this organization all set and ready to go for the next person who takes over when I graduate in May,” Kent said. “By setting up this organization, I would like students on campus to learn about this crisis and to educate themselves properly on it. I want them to be open minded to this and to consider joining ROC to help advocate for those whose voices are being ignored.”
By being an ROC chapter on campus, Kent wishes to expand this organization to the community. Kent said Adrian does not have a refugee population, and by expanding to the community, people can help raise funds for those who are currently experiencing displacement and also educate the public on this crisis.
“The organization as a whole is looking for people who are willing to write for our blog and conduct interviews with people who are currently experiencing displacement,” Kent said.
Anyone interested in the “pen pal” program and assisting in any other way can contact Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org.