Community builders get started

In February, the Student-Refugee Community pilot project was launched and the first ‘Community Builders’ team was set up. The Community Builders are the real driving force behind the project and serve as the main contact point for refugees who are living in student accommodation. Supervised by Academy City (‘Academie van de Stad’), they also organize social activities and help build a network among the newcomers. But who are these pioneering Community Builders and why they do they want to take part in this project?

       The Students Lizzy and Alex are the first Community Builders for the project. Lizzy is studying Corporate Communications and Alex is following a pre-masters course in Religion and Society. They are both active and involved students who want make a contribution to society alongside their regular studies.

Why become Community Builders?
Both students have their own motivations and drives for joining the project. Lizzy is a natural networker who is happy to bring people together and set up links between them. She is passionate about the project’s aims: “I believe the Student-Refugee Community is a way of building a cohesive and compassionate future of our society. I was here right from the start and I'm proud of being able to help!” Alex's motivations for becoming a Community Builder come partly from his affinity with religion. “Many refugees have a religious background and I see that I could have an important role in this regard. This project to help young refugees find their way is a very exciting challenge.”

What will they do?
Community Builders offer support to refugees when they first move into the student accommodation. But what does that involve exactly? “Together, Alex and I are responsible for creating, maintaining and growing the Student-Refugee Community. We mainly deal with things like making good matches between students and refugees, organizing activities that promote the community and answering questions from both parties,” explains Lizzy. Both are proud to be the first Community Builders from Academy City and hope that it will be a successful project. And they look forward to welcoming many more ‘builders’ to join them.

Want to learn more about how the project works?
The first preparations for the Student-Refugee Community pilot project were made at the end of 2016. SSH and Academy City gave students and refugees the chance to live together in student accommodation and to begin forming a network. Now, whenever a room becomes vacant in a student residence, the students there are asked if they would like a refugee as a housemate. Read more about the project and how it works.