Residents of Hart Global Living and Learning
Center and other members of the campus
community are collecting clothing for displaced Iraqis and school supplies for Benin under the
Oswego Has Heart program.
The project started after Haider Hamza, a former Iraqi
journalist and Fulbright Scholar, visited campus to present the keynote for the
2008 Hart Hall Global Awareness Conference. His talk revealed a need to help
Iraqi refugees in Syria,
said Becky Burch of the psychology department, a Hart Hall faculty member-in-residence.
“College students don’t necessarily have money, but many of
them have stuff, so we looked for something students could donate,” Burch said.
Hart Hall launched a clothing drive that has collected more
than 90 large bags of clothing routed through Hamza to refugee camps. A large
surge came at the end of spring when students, especially those from overseas,
decided to donate clothing instead of packing it for home.
“The generosity of
our students, faculty and staff for this drive has been amazing,” she said.
Oswego Has Heart found a second project when students who
through a study-abroad course supporting the college’s
partnership revamping the African nation’s educational program talked of
“you realize how much infrastructure there isn’t,” said Keith Davis of the
Office of International Education and Programs and another Hart faculty member-in-residence.
“What we consider necessities they often have to do without. We saw kids on the
street begging for food. We saw 60 students crowded into one class. They have
school uniforms because otherwise some children are so poor they would come to
For children in Benin,
even one stick of chalk feels like a reward and is key to their education. He
saw students working their cherished chalk down to the smallest nub. “Here you
can find a box with 100 pieces of chalk in a dollar store,” and easily buy a
small stockpile for Benin,
while it’s almost impossible to find there, Burch said.
Students going over to Benin for this year’s study-abroad
course will bring the ever-growing pile of supplies with them, she added.
“Hart Hall is about raising awareness, and we’re really
making a difference,” said Greg Parsons of the history department, Hart Hall’s
faculty director. “The conference is really what brought this together and let
everyone know about the need.”
— Tim Nekritz M '05
Oswego students, faculty and staff have
contributed some 90 large bags of clothes for Iraqi refugees in Syria as well
as school supplies for children in Benin through the Oswego Has Heart program.
Shown going through some of the donated clothes are Hart Hall residents, from
left: Becky Burch of the psychology department; Student Association President Chrissy Ballesteros ’10; Greg Parsons
of the history department, the faculty resident director; Nina Monte, director
of Hart Hall; Rachel Jewell ’09, a
graduate resident mentor; and Keith Davis of International Education and
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