On Thursday evening, a small group of students initiated a collection for the refugees who will be staying at the EUR Sport Building. Their aim is to collect useful items to be donated to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, who are currently establishing an emergency refugee centre on the EUR campus. The collection is to take place on Friday afternoon.

Psychology student Alissa Hoogenboezem, 25, initiated the collection through Facebook on Thursday evening. Her plan is to collect items on the staircase in the Polak Building.

‘I was planning to get some exercise last night, but then I saw on Facebook that the gym was closed,’ says Hoogenboezem. ‘Someone suggested on WhatsApp that we collect toothpaste for the refugees.’ Hoogenboezem liked the idea so much that she started posting messages on Facebook. Many enthusiastic replies later, a plan for a large-scale collection for ‘our campus guests’ had been hatched.

Nothing needed for refugee centre

The students will be at the Polak Building today to collect clothing, bed linen, toiletries and boxes for transport. Although the university told Hoogenboezem on Facebook that they don’t really need help supplying the emergency refugee centre, she is determined to go through with the collection.

‘Even if the items we collect today are not necessarily needed here, we hope they will be of some use to the Red Cross and Salvation Army. In addition, many students have indicated a willingness to help out in other ways, for instance by serving as interpreters, to help refugees communicate.’

Together with three friends, Hoogenboezem will be at the stairs in the Polak Building on Friday to collect items from fellow students. Spar has agreed to lend the students crates, and the Cedo Nulli students association will probably come and lend a helping hand, as well. Keep an eye on the students’ Facebook event page for the latest updates on the collection.

Nieuwe Universiteit Rotterdam is helping out, too. According to sociology student Bob Scholte, they will be joining in the collection taking place at the Polak Building. In addition, they wish to welcome the refugees to the Sport Building.

“It’s important that we – students and lecturers of Erasmus University – get actively engaged in the social issues of our time,’ says Scholte. ‘This situation is providing us with an excellent opportunity to leave our ivory towers, immerse ourselves in the refugees’ lives and try and help them improve their conditions.”