CLCE to use simulation to teach students about refugee experiences


With over 65 million refugees worldwide, according to NPR, the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) is organizing an event geared toward making students more aware of what refugees go through.

"The Passages" event looks to explore the journey refugees make while fleeing various countries through a step-by-step simulation.

“In the present climate, refugees are a big issue that we feel as though there’s a lot of misunderstanding (around),” said Kira Benton, co-coordinator of the Human Rights and Immigration committee of CLCE. “There’s a misunderstanding of what they go through and even what a refugee actually is. I think that taking it past a political issue and trying to give students a real understanding of situations they may face.

The simulation is based on one created by the United Nations called Passages: An awareness game confronting the plights of refugees. One of the main reasons the UN created the simulation was to raise awareness in young people of struggles refugees face.

“It’s a simulation game created by the UN that takes students through different situations that refugees may encounter in their journey to a new country or just post conflict,” Benton said.

Graduate adviser for CLCE Amber Myer said students will be given an ID number when entering the event and directed through a series of booths that represent the different steps a refugee goes through. The screening process a refugee goes through to enter the U.S. includes reviews by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, according to the White House website.

"When a student comes to the event, they’re going to be assigned to a family that they’re going to go through the simulation with,” Benton said. “They’ll go through a variety of modules that detail different events a refugee might encounter. They’re based on a variety of different situations and the modules aren’t necessarily linear. It’s not a depiction of what one refugee encounters but different events that refugees might face.”

Along with the simulation, local partners involved in working with refugees will be there to talk about some of the work they do and a refugee will be coming to talk to students about their personal experience.

Myer said the CLCE hopes that students come out of the event knowing something they didn’t know before about the refugee experience.

“I think it’s really important with the current political climate for students to understand what refugees and immigrants go through,” she said. “Hopefully this helps with that.”

The event will be held Wednesday morning at 11 in MSC 2709.