With no budget available to them, they were limited in what they could as a representation of 434 people. So on November 4, 43 students and faculty, throughout Bethel will wear orange t-shirts in order to represent the Syrian population. An additional 391 wristbands of the same color will be distributed to make up for the rest of the numbers.
“We wanted this to represent what this sort of thing would look like within our community,” Poppinga said.The basis of the project will be twofold, the first being awareness.
“It seems like current events are something that a lot of college students seem to be disengaged from,” Poppinga said, “There really isn’t a regular place on campus where students are able to see the news.”
The second goal is action, with the aim that students will then take a path of putting that knowledge into motion. “Awareness is good but help is better,” Sebey said. He hopes that this project will strike a ripple effect that will spread beyond Bethel’s campus. “Who knows, maybe a Syrian that is currently seeking refugee status will become a pastor or missionary that will help lead many more to Jesus Christ,” he added.
In addition to the t-shirts and wristbands, participants will be handing out cards listing information about how people can help financially, politically and through prayer.
The aim of the project is to create a space where students can wrestle with their feelings of hopelessness by giving them an opportunity to act.
“Your education calls you to action,” Poppinga said. “How are you connecting the classroom to what you can actually do about it right now?”