Oklahoma State University, Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma seeking help welcoming Afghan refugees

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STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – OSU’s Cowboys are working to make sure Afghan refugees will find a welcoming new home on campus in Stillwater.

OSU is partnering with Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma in the relocation and settlement of as many as 40 Afghan families.

“Of course, in August, when the whole world watched what happened on Afghanistan, we began to pay attention as well,” said Dr. Randy Kluver, Dean of the School of Global Studies and Partnerships.

Kluver says it didn’t take long for faculty and students to ask what OSU would do in response – and how they could help.

Then they heard Catholic Charities agreed to help welcome some of the refugees into Stillwater – and offered their assistance.

“Being a relatively small but international town, I think it’s a perfect place,” Kluver said. “We have thousands of international students and families already. We have faculty from around the world.”

Due to the global pandemic, Kluver says many of those students were unable to return to the U.S. due to COVID-19 restrictions, so OSU has some housing available.

“So as we looked at this, we thought this would be a perfect solution to find some temporary housing for these families,” Kluver said.

The first group of refugees is expected to arrive on campus in November.

Catholic Charities is now seeking and accepting a variety of donations – asking for the essentials.

“Because as you know, the folks who left Afghanistan left with essentially nothing, so they’re going to have to set up complete households,” said Kluver.

OSU says it is asking student organizations to help move furniture and set up apartments.

They’re also going to work to meet these families and young children’s emotional needs.

“We know it’s going to be an all-of-community effort and OSU is a big part of Stillwater so we’re very happy to play a part in this process,” Kluver said.

Kluver says the refugees will be in international and graduate student housing.

He expects they will be there until they learn English or find another place to go.

If you’d like to help with any resources or to find more information, visit OSU’s website.

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