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Students take action to support the Syrian refugees arriving in Waterloo region

December 11th, 2015

Students at the University of Waterloo will be playing a key role in community efforts to help over 1000 Syrian refugees settle in the region early next year. The Volunteer Centre, which is a Federation of Students’ service, will be working alongside community partners as the outlet that all opportunities to assist with the Syrian refugee relief will be shared through.

“We have created a dedicated button on the Volunteer Centre database that allows people to specifically search for Syrian refugee related opportunities,” said Maaz Yasin, vice-president, internal for the student union. “There is interest and passion among the student body to support these individuals, and ensure they adjust to life in the city and country.”

The efforts began after the new federal government announced plans this fall to bring refugees from the war-torn country into Canada. The refugees are a mix of government assisted and privately sponsored people. Ontario has six reception centres for the refugees including Waterloo region.

Apart from the plans with the Volunteer Centre, students are organizing a number of initiatives through Feds to do more.

A number of undergraduate clubs will set up a food and clothing drive in the winter term on campus. The student union is recruiting individuals on campus who are fluent in Arabic/Kurdish to serve as interpreters.

“Feds has always recognized how important it is to support refugees, and strive to increase the understanding the public has about their situation,” said Yasin. “For years, Feds has partnered with the university and its federated colleges in administering the Student Refugee Program, which thousands of students contribute money to and directly help peers that are refugees.”

As the weeks continue, and the refugees arrive, Feds is looking forward to working with our partners at the University of Waterloo, St. Paul's University College, and the World University Service of Canada.

More information about how students are able to help is available on

About the Federation of Students

Since 1967, the Federation of Students (Feds) has been the voice of undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo. Feds undertakes initiatives both on and off campus to serve, empower and represent students. Feds operates seven commercial services, nine student-run services, oversees over 200 student clubs and societies and Orientation Week. For more information, please visit