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Edmon Low Library at Oklahoma State University.

OSU joins ‘Welcome Campus Network’ to support Afghan refugees

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Editorial Coordinator | 405-744-5540 |

Oklahoma State University and a growing coalition of more than two dozen U.S. colleges and universities joined Welcome.US today in announcing the creation of the Welcome Campus Network. 

Colleges and universities in more than 30 states are actively working to provide scholarships, housing units, community sponsorship, and pathways to education for thousands of Afghan refugees and their families, as well as other support and welcoming activities. In just four months, nearly 200 institutions of higher education have pledged to help, and the new Welcome Campus Network aims to amplify their efforts to welcome newly arrived Afghan refugees. 

OSU has partnered with Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma (CCEOK) to help with the relocation and settlement of up to 40 Afghan families who were evacuated by the United States government after the fall of the Afghan government. To highlight these efforts, Welcome.US, the National Association of System Heads, and leaders from several colleges and universities joined a roundtable today hosted by Jack Markell, White House coordinator for operation allies welcome, and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. 

OSU Senior Vice President for Executive Affairs Kyle Wray said he was thankful for the opportunity to join the panel and explore ways to maximize the impact of OSU’s commitment to provide support for Afghan refugees in the form of on-campus housing, English as a second language training, transportation, adult and child programming, assistance with food and furniture drives and translation services — all at next to no cost to the university. 

“As Cowboys, we’re called to serve, and we’re here to answer that call,” Wray said. “The outpouring of support we’ve already seen at OSU has been incredible, and I look forward to giving them a big Cowboy welcome. We’re proud to be a part of this higher education coalition and embrace the opportunity to do our part to make a difference in the lives of these courageous and resilient people.” 

Welcome.US CEO Nazanin Ash said universities have a large role to play in supporting the success of Afghan newcomers — and facilitating their tremendous contributions. 

“Universities have long been engaged in lifting the voices of Afghan leaders and supporting greater access to education and opportunity for Afghans, first in Afghanistan, and now here in the U.S. as our allies rebuild their lives” Ash said. “It is incredible to see so many colleges and universities coming together and making an impact on the lives of these newcomers, and Welcome.US is eager to lift up their efforts.” 

The partnership with Welcome.US includes the National Association of System Heads, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, the Texas International Education Consortium, and Every Campus A Refuge. Welcome.US is also partnering with leaders such as Dr. Heather Wilson, president of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and former secretary of the United States Air Force, who brought together chancellors and presidents of 27 universities and colleges to create the Welcome Campus Network. 

“We’ve approached this historic resettlement effort by focusing on what it will take to equip our Afghan allies for success as they rebuild their lives in America,” Markell said. “Education is a crucial piece of this equation. The institutions stepping up to welcome Afghan students on campus reflect the very best of America and are making an important investment in the future of our Afghan allies and in our country.”

The Welcome Campus Network includes:

  • Alamo Community College
  • Arizona State University
  • Central Washington University
  • Colorado State University
  • Every Campus A Refuge
  • Houston Community College
  • Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis
  • National Association of System Heads
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Pima Community College
  • Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
  • Sacramento State University
  • Salt Lake Community College
  • San Jose State University
  • San Francisco State University
  • Texas Woman’s University
  • Texas International Education Consortium
  • The University of Texas at El Paso
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of Massachusetts Boston
  • University of Houston
  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County 
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Tulsa
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Texas San Antonio
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Welcome.US
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