WELLESLEY – When a massive 7.6 earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on February 5, 2023, MassBay Community College’s student international club immediately wanted to help the thousands of people impacted. In the following days, the club members started a collection drive of warm clothes, blankets, hygiene products, sleeping bags, and tents to be shipped to the people of Turkey and Syria through the Turkish Consultant.
“It is difficult being very far from home and wanting to help my home country,” said Demet Yildirim, an international student from Turkey who studies engineering design at MassBay and currently lives in Brookline “I am lucky my family is alive, but four of my best friends from my university were killed in the earthquake. My family currently lives outside in freezing weather because their housing structure is unsafe. There is little food to eat, there aren’t any safe buildings to go into, and bathrooms are extremely limited. My friends in the international club have given the people of Turkey and me a lot of support, and it means a lot to me.”
In just ten short days of collecting items, the MassBay student international club boxed up hundreds of donations from students, faculty, staff, and local community members and delivered them to Medford’s FreeRange Market, where they will be sorted, repacked, and shipped to Turkey and Syria.
“International students have a special bond, as they are far away from home and they are exploring and discovering MassBay,” said MassBay International Club Advisor and Assistant Director of International Admissions Claudia Ortiz. “The club members often help each other navigate the American culture, and when something happens in their home country, they rally around each other to help in any way they can. The internal and external community has really come together to gather donations that will help the people of Turkey and Syria.”
MassBay has an active international student population with more than 100 students from more than 25 different countries, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, India, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, and Ukraine. Most international students are part of the tight-knit international club, holding weekly meetings to discuss campus life and come together as their own community. In addition, the club holds monthly international lunch hours for the MassBay community where an international student is selected to present on their home country, which provides their peers, faculty, and staff the opportunity to learn more about different cultures and the world around us.
MassBay Community College international student Demet Yildirim on the Wellesley Hills campus, Wellesley Hills, MA, February 2023 (Photo/MassBay Community College).
MassBay Community College international students (from left to right) Paulina Guerra of Ecuador, Jin Pan of China, Lena Harbig of Germany, and Simran Prajapati of India, gather donations for the people of Turkey and Syria on the Wellesley Hills campus, Wellesley Hills, MA, February 2023 (Photo/MassBay Community College).
MassBay Community College international students (from left to right) Lena Harbig of Germany, Jin Pan of China, and Simran Prajapati of India boxed donations for the people of Turkey and Syria impacted by recent earthquakes on the Wellesley Hills campus, Wellesley Hills, MA, February 2023 (Photo/MassBay Community College).
MassBay Community College international students drop off donations for the people of Turkey and Syria impacted by recent earthquakes to the FreeRange Market in Medford, MA, February 2023 (Photo/MassBay Community College).
MassBay Community College international students help separate donation at the FreeRange Market Medford, MA, February 2023 (Photo/MassBay Community College).
MassBay Community College is the most affordable higher education option in MetroWest Boston, offering a robust portfolio of courses and more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes in Ashland, Framingham, Wellesley Hills, and online. MassBay students receive an unmatched educational value by earning stackable credits that transfer to bachelor’s degree programs, and workforce-ready skills necessary to advance careers in high-demand fields such as health and life sciences, automotive technology, engineering, business, cybersecurity, and the humanities. MassBay’s Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) and Practical Nursing (LPN) programs were both ranked as the #1 Nursing Program in Massachusetts in 2020-2021 by national nursing advocacy organizations RegisteredNursing.org, and PracticalNursing.org. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and remains firmly committed to its mission of meeting the needs of the diverse local communities it serves. We value the intrinsic worth of all individuals, collectively in pursuit of inclusiveness and prioritize our work towards achieving equity within our community and beyond.
In full transparency, above is a press release and photos submitted to SOURCE media for publication.