Student organizations hold fundraiser for Ukraine
In conjunction with the Ukrainian House at Yale and the International Students Organization, the Yale College Council beat their goal in a fundraiser for Razom, an organization helping Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
Lukas Flippo, Senior Photographer
The Yale College Council, the Ukrainian House at Yale and the International Student Organization raised over $2,000 for Razom, an organization that helps Ukraine from abroad.
The fundraiser ran from March 1 through March 9 and surpassed its $2,000 goal. All the funds went to Razom, which was founded in New York in 2014. Razom means “together” in Ukrainian, and the founders chose the name to serve as a reminder of the community required to build and maintain a path toward a more prosperous and democratic country.
Joaquín Lara Midkiff ’24, community policy director for the YCC, explained that the organizers of the fundraiser chose Razom because of its focus on humanitarian causes.
“We chose Razom specifically because it centers human welfare, is not militaristic nor state-sponsored, and serves people directly impacted by the war,” Lara Midkiff told the News.
The YCC decided to organize a fundraiser to show solidarity for Ukraine and support for the Ukrainian community on campus, Lara Midkiff explained. A post on the YCC Facebook page notes that members of the Yale community have family in Ukraine, many of whom may be “hiding in basements and shelters, fearing the blasts of missiles and the terror in the streets.”
A goal of the fundraiser, Lara Midkiff said, was also to continue the YCC’s and the Yale community’s practice of supporting causes beyond Yale that are important to the student body. YCC spearheaded the efforts, with significant input from the Ukrainian House and ISO, according to Yuliia Zhukovets ’23, who is from Ukraine and was involved in the organization of the fundraiser.
“It was definitely nice to see that YCC took the biggest chunk of work but also made sure to check in a lot with [the Ukrainian House and ISO],” Zhukovets said. “They’re the bigger organization out of the three, but it was an effort we talked about together.”
The fundraiser began in the wake of the Rally for Ukraine held on Sunday, Feb. 27, and planning started very soon after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Individuals within the YCC, as well as the body as a whole, became involved in the fundraiser due to their desire to support Ukraine during its invasion.
Ted Shepherd ’25, who worked on the fundraiser through YCC, explained that he wanted to do so because of a close friend with family still in Ukraine.
“I had followed the Ukraine-Russia situation for months and felt very sympathetic towards the Ukrainians just wanting to defend their land and sovereignty,” Shepherd said. “[My friend’s] stories about being there on the ground made me even more sympathetic.”
The University has increased support for Ukrainian students and family during the crisis through expanding its programming for scholars at risk. According to University President Peter Salovey’s announcement of the expansion on March 10, such programming provides temporary teaching and research positions, as well as career guidance opportunities, to people facing imminent threats to their life, liberty and well-being.
Lara Midkiff believes that in addition to the efforts made by the University, the Yale community as a whole has a moral obligation to do more to aid Ukraine.
“It’s my belief that, as socially conscious members of the world, it is our responsibility to do right in the face of the evils of war, authoritarianism, and empire,” Lara Midkiff wrote in an email to the News.
Yale’s undergraduate student directory currently indicates that there are four students from Ukraine enrolled in the College. For these students, such as Zhukovets, as well as others of Ukrainian descent, the situation is more immediate than a moral obligation.
Zhukovets shared that taking action to help Ukraine is part of her coping process.
“I’m the kind of person who can’t sit still and needs to take some action, that’s how I cope,” she said. “As I’m a student, I can’t contribute much financially, so my goal was to raise as much money as possible.”
Going forward, Lara Midkiff and Shepherd both urged the Yale community to continue the work it has been doing to support Ukraine through rallies and fundraisers.
Zhukovets expressed appreciation for the efforts that the community and University have made in solidarity with Ukraine. However, she wants community members to know that financial support to Ukraine remains critical even when there is no active fundraiser occurring.
“Just because the fundraiser ended doesn’t mean the war has ended,” Zhukovets said.
Anyone still interested in donating to Razom can do so via the organization website.