On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the German 300 level courses worked together to bring an interactive exhibit to not only educate but to raise funds for the Doctors Without Borders to help the four million Syrian refugees.
Participants of the exhibit would walk into one of the rooms in the Center for Languages and International Collaboration (CLIC) and find a large raft on the floor.
In large groups, the students would cram into the raft and as video clips of the ocean playing on screens, the students would listen to stories of refugees and why they had to choose the difficult path to flee their homes.
“Professors come in and they would feel so moved that they would come back and bring their entire class with them,” said senior Douglas Bender, one of the German 300 students. “It seemed to affect all who was there.”
The Syrian Civil War began in early 2011 and started the Syrian Refugee Crisis which would cause the total number of refugees worldwide to exceed 50 million for the first time since World War II.
“We felt it was very topical to keep on that idea, reinform people that even though it is gone from the main part of
media that it is still happening,” said Bender. “And we chose this time to do it because it is getting colder and the route is becoming more treacherous especially for people who are from the Middle East who are not necessarily ready to deal with the cold Mediterranean or when they arrive in Europe.”
Not only are the winter storms making travel by sea much more dangerous than the already harsh summer weather.
But currently some countries are closing their borders to the refugees, making it impossible for them to travel by boat.
This forces many to take different routes, often much longer routes.
“[The refugees] want to go to Germany because their Chancellor said they were welcome in Germany so their goal country was Germany,” said German Language AssistantKatieHartmann, who is from Austria. “Hungary and Croatia closed their borders so they couldn’t come through anymore so either they could take the very dangerous route through the Mediterranean or take the northern path which is very far and very dangerous.”
This exhibition was not only trying to raise awareness of the struggles that the Syrian refugees are going through, but to show that their plight is nowhere near finished and that they are still in need.
“We put this on four days after the Paris bombing and people were blaming the Syrians and we had all these people in the States saying they wanted to lock out Syrian immigrants but none of those terrorists were from Syria,” said German Professor Lorely French.
This event was able to have more than 200 students, faculty members and community members attend.
A total of $355.32 was raised to be donated to Doctors Without Borders through donations throughout the day.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The German 300 level class and Professor Lorely French would like to thank the following people for their contribution not only financially, but for their other contributions: Lorely French, Media Arts, Jennifer Hardacker, Enie Vaisburd, Shana David, Windy Stein, Eva Guggemos, Elaine Bortles, Outdoor Pursuits and Adventures Without Limits. Without their help, the event would not have been possible and their contributions were generous.