Photo Courtesy of Stand Up to Racism Birmingham / Facebook

BC Student Leads Initiative to Help Those Affected by Travel Ban

After Donald Trump’s executive order banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, Leslie Templeton, MCAS '19, reached out to affected international students at Boston College.

“If you want amazing home cooked meals/an actual house to stay in over break and are fearful about leaving this country in case you are denied re-entry, I talked to my family and we have extra rooms you can stay in,” Templeton posted in The Official Boston College Class of 2020 Facebook page on Jan. 29.

Nearly 600 students liked the post and wrote comments to show their support. According to Templeton, she has received messages from both friends and strangers alike who have expressed interest in helping find places to stay for students affected by the ban.

After this overflowing of support, Templeton posted again on Feb. 7 saying that she is matching students in need of housing with students who volunteered to provide housing. Templeton used Google forms as a means of pairing students.

The first form allows international students to request housing. The second form is for students to offer to host an international student.  

As of Feb. 13, over 43 people have offered enough housing to host 60 international students.

“We have a lot of people offering housing, and not a lot of people looking for housing,” said Templeton. “But the whole point of it is that it’s there for someone if they need it.”

Although students might not be able to offer housing, there are still ways to be involved.

Templeton is currently directing students who contact her to reach out to BC ResLife and University Counseling Services, encouraging these platforms to spread the word to students.

She is also trying to reach out to other universities to offer housing to international students beyond BC, with help from BC students as well as friends from home.

Templeton plans to continue matching students until it is certain that all international students will be allowed safely back into the country if they travel outside the United States.

“I have learning disabilities, so to be able to access a fair education, no matter who you are, whether you have disabilities or are an immigrant, is very important to me personally," said Templeton.

Although the courts ruled against Trump’s executive order earlier this month, Trump tweeted a promise to fight against the court and is reportedly working on a revised order that will affect the same seven countries.

In the future, Templeton hopes to expand the housing match to include more students in need.

“Hopefully we can transition this into something for students who are homeless or come from an abusive family, so that they [too] can seek out a place to be with a family, have stability, and feel like they have a home,” said Templeton.

“I don’t want it to end,” Templeton continued. “This is a great thing that people are expanding their horizons and wanting to meet people from other backgrounds, so hopefully it will expand into something else for people who really need it.”

I’m a future elementary teacher who enjoys dabbling in news coverage of politics and social issues on the side.