DAVENPORT, IOWA (August 9, 2023) — St Ambrose University became the first campus in Iowa to join Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR).

ECAR is a higher-education initiative founded in 2015 at Guilford College; its founder Diya Adbo PhD, believes in a radical reimagination of higher education and campus life. “A campus is organically well-suited to be a physical place of refuge in times of crisis,” Dr Abdo said. “A campus has everything necessary to function like a small city. We have housing, cafeterias, clinics, and plenty of human resources and connections to provide financial, social, and cultural support.”

ECAR has furthered its mission to partner every US higher education institution with local refugee resettlement agencies as co-sponsors to host refugees on campus and now has sixteen chapters across the country — with St Ambrose University being the first of its kind in Iowa.

As St Ambrose prepares for the family's arrival this fall, the university has been actively forging meaningful partnerships throughout the community to aid in the family's integration. Various Quad Cities organizations and individuals have eagerly stepped forward to contribute their expertise, resources, and support to help renovate the St Ambrose residence into a welcoming home, most notably Tapestry Farms, One-Eighty, Humble Dwellings, Humility Homes and Services Inc, and John Deere.

“It's been very exciting to see a large number of faculty, staff, and students, who wish to engage in this process of welcoming a vulnerable family and raising awareness of the refugee crisis here on campus,” said Nicky Gant, St Ambrose Service and Justice Coordinator. “While we work to serve this family, there will be many opportunities for us to learn, grow, and live out our Ambrosian values as a campus community. I hope our participation in the ECAR program will educate and inspire students to live out these values as they graduate and go out into the world.”

With the 20th Annual Ambrosians Working for Social Justice Conference centered around Radical Hospitality, the university is dedicated to actively dismantling barriers to belonging for individuals affected by immigration status, those on a recovery journey, or with a history of incarceration. The collaboration with ECAR is just the beginning.

About St Ambrose University

Founded in 1882 by the Diocese of Davenport, St Ambrose University’s commitment to academic excellence, the liberal arts, social justice, and service is rooted in its Catholic intellectual tradition. The leading private university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers more than sixty undergraduate majors, eleven Master’s degrees, and three doctoral programs. One-hundred and thirty years since its inception, St Ambrose education remains centered on intentional, holistic, and experiential learning to develop high-impact world shapers in every field. To learn more about St Ambrose University, visit sau.edu.

About Every Campus a Refuge

ECAR is a higher-education initiative founded in September 2015 at Guilford College. Its mission is to make every US college and university a Resettlement Campus that partners with a local refugee resettlement agency to host refugees on campus grounds and supports their successful integration. Since ECAR’s inception, sixteen campuses, including Lafayette College, Wake Forest University, Russell Sage College, Old Dominion University, and Siena College, among others, have started their own ECAR Chapters. everycampusarefuge.net/.

About Diya Abdo PhD

Diya Abdo PhD is the Lincoln Professor of English in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Guilford College. A second-generation Palestinian refugee born and raised in Jordan, Dr Abdo’s teaching, research, and scholarship focus on Arab women writers and Arab and Islamic feminisms. In 2015, Dr Abdo founded Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR), which advocates for housing refugee families on college and university campus grounds and supporting them in their resettlement. The flagship chapter at Guilford College, now one of several ECAR campuses, has hosted 86 refugees thus far, including sixteen Afghan evacuees. abdod@guilford.edu or 336-316-2214

About Nicky Gant

Nicky Gant is the St Ambrose Coordinator of Service and Justice. She works to fulfill the University's commitment to Service and Social Justice by overseeing campus ministry efforts in the areas of peace and justice. Contact information: 563-333-6071 or GantNicole@sau.edu.

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