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Augusta University responds to Ukraine and other global crises, works to create humanitarian response protocol

On March 3, The Graduate School sponsored a luncheon to support members of the Augusta University community personally impacted by the war in Ukraine.

The event was coordinated by Dean Jennifer Sullivan’s office and speakers included Tiffany G. Townsend, PhD, Augusta University’s chief diversity officer and Chaplain Stephen Hughes from Augusta University Health’s Office of Spiritual CareAdebayo Onabule from Student Counseling and Psychological Services was also in attendance.

“The camaraderie among leadership, staff, and students created a safe space for all of us to fellowship with one another. Moreover, it gave us an opportunity to voice our concerns and seek connection within our community. Chaplain Hughes shared words of hope and I echoed his sentiments by reassuring those in attendance that the ODI is here to support and offer ways in which we can stand in solidarity,” said Townsend.

In light of several devastating events that have touched the community in recent years, ODI has reached out to the Office of Volunteer Services and Community Engagement, the Office of the Dean of Students and the International and Postdoctoral Services Office to begin thinking of ways to organize a collective, humanitarian response to support domestic and global communities impacted by war and natural disasters, such as Puerto Rico, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and more.

The goal would be to identify opportunities for the Augusta University community to make actionable contributions in response to crises locally, nationally and across the world. According to Townsend, studies have shown that working as a part of a collective to benefit the common good helps reduce anxiety, particularly during incidents where there is limited control (e.g. natural disasters, wars).

“I have said this many times that there is healing power in social advocacy! We can garner healing for ourselves and our community by banding together during challenging times. More details will be shared as they evolve,” Townsend said.

“I would be remiss not to acknowledge that current times may have caused some of us to feel silenced and powerless. However, in the words of Malala Yousafzai, ‘When the world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.’ I encourage you to use your voice to advocate for change. I also urge you to use that voice to connect to AU’s supporting units if you are in pain.”

Students who need support should contact Student Counseling and Psychological Services and review the Jags Live Well resources. Employees who need support should connect to the Employee-Faculty Assistance Program and the USG Employee Assistance Program.

ODI will partner with the International and Postdoctoral Services Office for two upcoming luncheons that support the international community:

  • Noon to 1 p.m. March 30, Health Sciences Campus
  • Noon to 1 p.m. March 31, Summerville Campus

RSVP online to participate. The event is open to all students, faculty and staff.

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