Eager to provide its resources and skills to support the refugees, the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) has been working on several practical initiatives within the asylum sphere. It also wants to involve other associations related to the university, such as some kots-à-projets (theme-based shared flats), in cooperation with the front-line associations. In his speech at the beginning of the new university year, Vincent Blondel, the Rector of UCL, reaffirmed the duty of the university community to welcome the migrants arriving in Belgium, though he made it clear that no simple immediate solution existed.
The members of the UCL community wishing to take part in the refugee aid project convened under the leadership of Marc Lits, Pro Rector of Education, and Didier Lambert, Vice-Rector of Student Affairs. They proceeded to implement practical measures around four main lines of action.
First of all, they intend to contact the associations and integration centres in the vicinity of the UCL campus to identify what is needed. Secondly, the University itself will take stock of available resources for, for example, opening courses in French as a foreign language, training volunteers for a literacy campaign, handling medication, providing legal aid…
The University also plans to develop tools aimed at the media and general public to help deconstruct the stereotypes and xenophobic discourse. And finally, the university will also analyse opportunities provided by the existing programmes.