To Serve the World: Our Response in Ukraine

by Sean Riley, Gravitas Executive Director & Dan Hickey ’04, SBS Director of Communications

(Photo by iStockPhoto)

“…that they may serve the world through their character and leadership.”

~ The Stony Brook Mission

Exactly 200 days ago, explosions rocked the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa, and the Donbas region, signaling a clear escalation in the Russo-Ukrainian hostilities that began in 2014. In the intervening six months, we have witnessed Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, as over 7 million Ukrainians, a third of the country’s population, fled in search of safety.

Stony Brook has a lengthy history of responding to global needs, beginning with those displaced by the second World War when these 55 acres became a haven for a number of European students forced to run from the theaters of battle. Some arrived with little or no English, but despite the challenges they found a refuge at One Chapman Parkway.

At Stony Brook, we are once again prompted to respond to a humanitarian crisis. Schools in western Ukraine, other European locales, and even the U.S. have seen the needs of displaced Ukrainian students quickly outpace institutional capacity to serve them well. Stony Brook desires to step into that gap with as many students as we can. Gravitas, the online extension of SBS that launched last year, is a way for students to gain access to a Stony Brook education without ever stepping foot on campus. Our online curriculum, delivered by a talented and committed faculty, provides access to a Stony Brook education in a way that was never previously possible.

“Thank you for your help… you just made me the happiest student in the world.”

Ukrainian student

Many Ukrainian students still have computer and internet access, so Gravitas committed 10 tuition-free spots for students that are most affected by the war. Nine are already enrolled and three are currently covered by sponsorships from the extended Stony Brook family. We are seeking other generous donors to provide for these students in need. If you are interested in helping this cause, please visit the SBS Give Now page and specify “Ukrainian Student Fund” on the designation line.


One comment

  1. I am so proud of our school and honored to have served as a faculty member at the Stony Brook School. Thank you for making a way for the least of these to gain an excellent education. We will be praying beside you for the Ukrainian students and their people.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s