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Cornell Community Joins Together in Support of Turkey and Syria

In response to the devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, several campus events have been held to support Cornell's Turkish and Syrian communities and to fundraise for relief in the areas struck by the catastrophic quakes.

Vigil for Victims of the Earthquakes

On Monday, February 20, a well-attended vigil to memorialize the victims of the Turkish and Syrian earthquakes began at Ho Plaza. The group walked together to the Arts Quad, where Einaudi Center faculty Esra Akcan and others spoke about the disaster. 

As an architect and historian, it has been devastating to observe the loop of repetition between earthquakes in Turkey. Usually vigils are not scholarly events, but I hope you excuse and agree with me that we need all university platforms to uphold the importance of knowledge.

The real cause of disaster is hardly the earthquake itself, but the corrupt construction industry backed up by the ruling elite. One can only hope that this will be the last, and that this earthquake will put an end to the loop of repetition.

Esra Akcan, Michael A. McCarthy Professor of Architectural Theory
Esra Akcan addressing a crowd in front of Ezra Cornell's statue on the Arts Quad.
Man sitting at base of statue looking a poster and flowers.

Disaster Relief Fundraiser

Students, faculty, staff, and the local community filled Klarman Hall for the Disaster Relief Fundraiser for Turkey and Syria on Saturday, February 18. The Arab Student Association, Muslim Educational and Cultural Association, Turkish Student Association, and the International Students Union welcomed a mix of Cornell community members for a night of cultural activities, food, performances, and a silent auction. More than $8,600 was raised for relief efforts in the impacted areas.

Given the urgency of the situation, students from four different organizations worked around the clock last week to execute a fundraiser that celebrated Syrian and Turkish culture, all while raising awareness about the earthquake. It was incredible seeing students, faculty, and staff attend our event to support those affected.

At Cornell, you have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. But because of that, we each owe it to ourselves to have curiosity to learn about others' cultures and backgrounds and empathy when a world event occurs. To be part of a community means to care about others' communities. 

Megan Cabaero, president of the International Students Union
A crowd gathered in Klarman Hall eating and socializing.
Members of student groups holding flags of their homelands.

Student Support Group

Cornell faculty organized a support group in Mann Library for students impacted by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on Wednesday, February 15. The group provided community during a difficult time, and Turkish snacks and tea were served, creating a warm and welcoming environment for people to come and share personal experiences and feelings.

We had about 30 students and faculty who attended the event. Students were from across different colleges, both undergraduate and graduate students. Many students seemed distressed about the current events, but sharing their feelings with the rest of the group, helped ease the pain they were going through.