The University of Guelph is gearing up to support Syrian refugees arriving in the Guelph community.

Besides enrolling two Syrian refugee students in 2016, U of G will provide English-language assistance and other academic supports, and promote volunteer efforts and fundraising activities for newcomers arriving as refugees from the war-torn country.

“We are committed to welcoming and helping Syrian refugees,” said Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic).

Through a partnership with World University Service of Canada (WUSC), the University will enrol two Syrian refugee students this year. The first student is expected to begin classes in January, and the second in the fall semester.

Since 2010, Guelph has sponsored two to three refugee students each year from several African countries.

The University is aiming to raise $60,000 to cover living and study costs for the two Syrian students. U of G and WUSC  started a crowdfunding campaign on Giving Tuesday. Additional fundraising activities will be announced in the new year.

U of G will also offer English-language skills assistance through its Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd) office.  OpenEd is part of Languages Canada, a national group that has started an initiative to provide English language instruction to Syrian refugees.

U of G also plans to support students interested in volunteering with refugees and to assist community agencies in providing services.

“We have an engaged student body, and U of G is well known across the country for its commitment to community outreach,” Yates said.

The University’s Community Engaged Scholarship Institute will work with local partners in studying refugee issues.

U of G aims to help refugees transfer academic credentials into post-secondary education in Canada, said Yates.

“We will work with community partners to help refugees find meaningful work, engage with the community, and raise healthy and successful families,” Yates said.