College national movement comes to campus in the fall

Courtesy of JESS GARROSS, president and co-founder of Students for Refugees at the University of Arkansas.

Students often ask themselves what good they’re able to do in a world that is filled with so much bad. This sentiment is the impetus behind a new CAUSE ministry called “Students for Refugees,” a ministry springing from  an organization by the same name at the University of Arkansas.

Students for Refugees work with Canopy NWA to inform students about the refugee experience and to provide an avenue for advocacy among student populations.

Students for Refugees intends to utilize the gifts of particular students to advocate for refugees in Northwest Arkansas.

This is true for the branch in the University of Arkansas and the branch at John Brown University.

According to Students for Refugees’ Facebook bio, they intend to, “utilize the resources available on campus to partner with local NGOs in Northwest Arkansas to resettle and advocate for refugees.”

“Our primary focus will be working to help students use their disciplines and/or degrees to aide in the refugee resettlement process through service learning and advocacy,” according to the page.

Jessica Jansma, sophomore family and human services major at JBU, has been the driving force for the partnership between the two schools’ organizations and the leader of the CAUSE ministry at JBU.

“Our goal is to better utilize the gifts and passions that each student has to better advocate for refugees. We have different ideas for how’d we like it to look,” Jansma said.

“The first is to hold conversations that dispel the tension and fear that often emerges,” Jansma said.

“It’s kind of a political controversy, so we are steering it away from the policies and focusing on the people who are involved.”

However, Students for Refugees is not ignoring the political natures of these issues. “Another one of our main goals is to be in conversation with the senators and other elected officials in Northwest Arkansas.

Students for Refugees at [the University of Arkansas] has already partnered with Canopy to have those conversations.”

Frank Huebert, director of outreach ministries at JBU, said this ministry fit within the mission of the JBU community.

“They approached me and asked if this is something that could fall under the umbrella of CAUSE. As with any ministry, my involvement is asking ‘How does this fit within the framework of service and evangelism within the context of our university?’” Huebert said.

“As a CAUSE ministry, it does several things. It helps mobilize JBU students out into the community. It gives them a variety of ways to use their gifts, passions, skills and talents they’ve developed and are developing, and that’s one of the things I think Students for Refugees has done well.”

Jansma said that this ministry filled an observable need on JBU’s campus, and so was easy to start.

“Really, all it took was talking to a few faculty members, and they definitely recognize the same need at JBU,” Jansma concluded.