Campus initiatives are under way at Boston College to support relief efforts responding to the devastating series of earthquakes in Turkey and northern Syria that have killed 47,000 people and displaced or affected more than 26 million others.
For the past two weeks all Masses on campus have been offered for Turkey and Syria and all collections have been dedicated to relief work in the two countries devastated by the quakes, said Haub Vice President for Mission and Ministry Jack Butler, S.J. BC Campus Ministry has also made additional contributions to relief efforts, he added.
In addition, donations will be collected at the doors of Conte Forum at the March 3 men’s hockey game against the University of Connecticut and the March 4 men’s basketball game against Georgia Tech. Fr. Butler said planning is under way for a “points drive” where students can transfer dining hall credits to support relief efforts.
“Being men and women for others, we have a responsibility to be in solidarity with people when they are going through difficult times and suffering...People need our prayers, our support, and our resources.”
Funds will be directed to Catholic Relief Services or Jesuit Refugee Services, Fr. Butler said.
“Being men and women for others we have a responsibility to be in solidarity with people when they are going through difficult times and suffering,” Fr. Butler said. “It’s an important part of who we are and the BC family. The effects of these earthquakes have been devastating, with 47,000 dead at this time. It is a horrific situation. People need our prayers, our support, and our resources”
The University enrolls several undergraduate students from Turkey and nearly 20 graduate students, and there are many faculty members who are natives of the country. Staff from the offices of Student Affairs and Campus Ministry have outreached to Turkish undergraduate students and graduate students, Fr. Butler said.
“We have been making sure those folks know that we support and love them and understand how tremendously difficult this is for them,” he said.
Assistant Professor of Biology Emrah Altindis said he and his fellow Turkish colleagues have been in touch with family and friends. The scope of the devastation is immense, he said, and has been compounded by shortcomings in the government responses.
“Given the scale of the devastation, it is clear that ongoing, long-term support will be necessary to ensure that these communities can fully recover,” said Altindis. “As the American dollar is currently strong compared to the Turkish lira, I would strongly recommend sending impactful financial support to aid in the recovery efforts instead of clothes or other items.”
He added: “I believe that we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by this tragedy. Finally, I would also like to encourage the BC community to be mindful of the impact this disaster has had on students and employees from Syria and Turkey. Many of us have likely experienced trauma as a result of this event, and it's important that we offer support and understanding during this difficult time.”
Ed Hayward | University Communications | February 2023