SUNY Buffalo State prepares to welcome Afghan refugees to campus

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — SUNY schools, including Buffalo State College, are preparing to welcome Afghan refugees to their campuses.

Unused dorms at Buffalo State will be used as temporary housing for up to 100 refugees.

Upon arrival on campus, the evacuees will stay in a fully vacant building in our Tower residence hall complex,” Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said in a message to the campus community. “The timing of their arrival remains unclear, but we have been asked by the coordinating agencies to prepare for their arrival to the region in the coming weeks.”

Conway-Turner told News 4 the refugees would be staying on campus “no more than 90 days, but it could be shorter”.

Our benefit is that we’re helping deliver our mission,” she said. “We’re an institution that believes deeply in helping others to elevate our communities in every way that we can.”

Buffalo State was initially contacted in August about providing the space. In Fall 2021, 1,752 students are living in dormitories on campus. That’s down from 2,754 five years ago, according to data from the college’s Office of Institutional Research.

“Certainly there has been a decrease in enrollment across most campuses across the country,” Conway-Turner said. “You may remember four or five years ago we had so many students they were kind of coming out of our ears. That would not have been a time where we could possible have helped in this way.”

While on campus, they will also be able to apply for free courses at the SUNY Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center. SUNY will also be providing laptops so refugees can access different programs and find jobs.

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