Leavitt Center and International Rescue Committee team up to raise supplies and funds for refugees

Southern Utah University’s Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service is collaborating with the International Rescue Committee office in Salt Lake City to hold a refugee fundraiser. The event is aimed toward raising funds for refugee relief efforts with a focus on helping those located in Utah. 

John Jones, a member of the executive council of the Leavitt Center and chair of the center’s marketing committee, has spearheaded the fundraiser, which will feature a donation drive and an auction.

Jones was motivated to help after working in the refugee crisis in Greece and Cyprus. He believes that many people in the United States are not aware of the ongoing crises related to refugees. 

When Russia invaded Ukraine, Jones noticed an increase in attention towards refugee issues, especially on social media where, as Jones said, “suddenly everyone was posting about it and changing their profile picture.” However, he felt that it was important to take tangible action to make a difference.

“[Refugees fleeing war] isn’t a new issue, right? I felt a little weird about it, like, ‘this issue has been ongoing for so long.’,” Jones explained. “And so I wanted to do something that would make a difference for [refugees].”

The main fundraiser event will take place on April 19 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Leavitt Center, and will include a mocktail bar and educational components to inform attendees about the issue. The auction will feature gift baskets donated by various on-campus departments and organizations. Although primarily aimed at SUU students, faculty and staff, the event is open to anyone who wishes to donate or support the cause.

The event has already received generous donations from Cedar City Mayor Garth Green, Sen. Evan Vickers and local businesses. In addition, a donation drive is ongoing and has a list of needed hygiene and cleaning items. The donation drive will continue until the fundraiser, and the funds raised will go toward supporting Utah-based refugees.

To donate, visit the Leavitt Center in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.

Story by: Jacob Horne
Photos courtesy of the Leavitt Center and Hannah Busing via Unsplash