by Alicia Dye | staff writer
March 3, 2022
The Center for Migration, Displacement and Community Studies and the newly founded Migration club are all about helping migrants and upholding the human dignity and well-being of migrants in the area.
The center was created in the summer of 2021 by a group of 17 Duquesne faculty members. They were studying the fields of migration, displacement and community already and wanted a space where they could share their research and get feedback, collaborate with one another and raise awareness about important issues related to these fields on campus, according to Dr. Jennifer Schulze, the center’s director.
Schulze has been interested in migration, displacement and community since before joining the faculty at Duquesne in 2010.
“It was a bottom-up initiative,” Schulze said.
“The idea behind the center was to provide support and an intellectual space for students and faculty interested in these fields to come together.”
The center does more than just studying migration; they also have multiple programs that help the migrant community in Pittsburgh.
One program affiliated with the center is the After School Club for high school refugee youth, which is coordinated by Schulze and directed by Alliance for Refugee Youth and Education and Jewish Family and Community Services.
At the club, students and faculty serve as mentors to high school refugee students. The club was established in 2019 and helps refugee youth displaced from across the globe, including from Syria, Iraq and Rwanda.
Another way the center is involved in the Pittsburgh community is through the Reading to Play, Playing to Read program. The program is coordinated by Lucía Osa-Melero, an affiliated faculty member for Duquesne’s Center for Migration, Displacement and Community Studies and a professor of modern languages and literature.
The goal of Reading to Play, Playing to Read is to develop a solid relationship with the Spanish-speaking community in the Beechview neighborhood.
The center also does a lot to engage with students on campus. They recently co-sponsored the human rights film series, which recently showed the film “Building the American Dream.”
“We hope to establish a strong presence on campus by supporting faculty and student research, as well as by sponsoring events that are of interest to the campus community,” Schulze said.
“By connecting faculty and students with community partners in our region, we hope to provide more opportunities for students and faculty to get engaged.”
The center is also co-sponsoring a book reading with the Social Justice Reading Club. The book is “We Share the Same Sky: A Memoir of Memory and Migration” by Rachael Cerrotti, who will be speaking at Duquesne March 31 and April 1.
The center is the home to the newly formed Migration Club as well.
The club was formed in the spring of 2022. Migration club has goals of providing a forum for migrant students as well as those who are interested in migration studies, regardless of major, according to club treasurer Kendal Nasiadka.
“These are issues that can affect anyone,” Nasiadka said. “It’s a safe space for immigrants and a place where they can engage with their peers.”
Nasiadka first got involved with The Center for Migration, Displacement and Community Studies last fall and is a part of the advisory board for the center as well.
“Our goal is to encourage people to be empathetic toward others,” said Nasiadka. “We want people to see the humanity in others and themselves.”
Nasiadka encourages all students, regardless of major, to join the club.
Interested students can email Migration Club’s president Casey Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org and can follow the club on Instagram, @duqmigration club, for updates.
Any student or faculty member who is interested in research on migration, displacement and community studies or simply wants to get involved in the community can contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .
“The center really hopes to collaborate with students, clubs and faculty across campus and to help them connect with service organizations in the region,” Schulze said.
“I really want faculty and students across campus to know that the center is here to support research, community engagement, and advocacy around these important issues on our campus.”