Student Initiatives/Groups

logo of a refugee camp in the hear of the campus

With a student body strongly interested and invested in global concerns, York students lead many efforts to get involved and raise awareness of refugee issues both locally and globally. Some of these student-led groups include those listed below:

Local World University Service of Canada Committees

Located at the Glendon and Keele Campuses.

Psychology Graduate Students (PGS) Refugee Education Initiative

This initiative aims to conduct educational presentations for sponsorship teams working with refugees and their families, and all other volunteers looking to gain knowledge and understanding of refugees’ diverse experiences and the resources and services available in the community. Its educational seminars are based on theory, research, and practice and offer opportunities for interactive discussions.

Amnesty International at York

Amnesty International at York is an official branch of Amnesty International Canada run completely by volunteer students at York University. Amnesty International is a global movement of over 3 million people in more than 150 countries working together to protect and promote human rights. Its mission at York University is to generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated. We believe that we are at our most powerful when we stand together for human rights. Located at 107 Mclaughlin College on York’s Keele Campus. You can contact them by email at .

Assyrian Chaledean Syriac Student Union (ACSSU)

The Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Student Union (ACSSU) of Canada was founded in 1999. The only organization of its kind in Canada, ACSSU has branches at York University, the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and Ryerson University. These students raise awareness of culture, history, and issues of human rights. ACSSU can be found at Founders 121 D, Keele Campus, York University. You can contact them by email at .

Canadian Arab Institute (CAI) - York U Campus Ambassador

The Canadian Arab Institute (CAI) is a charitable, non-partisan policy and community engagement think-and-do-tank.  It was founded in 2011 with the aim of starting a new conversation about the life and contributions of Canadian Arabs and offering a unique perspective on public policy issues.  CAI generates original discourse that engages Canadian institutions and the public and helps improve understanding between communities.  Mariam Elzeiny, their York U Campus Ambassador is a member of the AMPD for Syria refugee sponsorship team and an active participant in the Syria Response and Refugee Initiative’s Refugees Welcome Here! campaign.

CARL Osgoode

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers Osgoode Student Branch is a non-profit student organization comprised of Osgoode Hall Law School students in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers . Its contact email is

The Centre for Refugee Studies Student Caucus

The Centre for Refugee Studies Student Caucus is an enthusiastic, energetic group of graduate and undergraduate students at York who study, research, and do volunteer and advocacy work on refugee and forced migration issues. This includes organizing seminars and an annual student conference on refugees and forced migration.

International Legal Partnership at Osgoode

International Law Partnership at Osgoode is a student-run organization that places Osgoode students on NGO legal fellowships around the world. We are committed to continue the support and collaboration with the Syria Response and Refugee Initiative at Osgoode and York University. Our e-mail is:

Mosaic Institute’s UofMosaic Fellowship Program at York

2016-2017 UofMosaic Fellows Reem Alhaj, Nabil Bhatia, Ben Shachar, Kanchi Uttamchandani and Arfi Yusuf Hodo Hussein are part of The Mosaic Institute’s “think and do” tank, whose mission is to promote peace and address longstanding conflicts. Inspired by York University and Mosaic’s commitment to social justice, the YorkU fellows of the UofMosaic fellowship program engage other students through dialogues that build a culture of meaningful and peaceful exchanges of ideas on campus and across the broader student body. Their 2016-2017 activities include helping to organize events on newcomer youth civic engagement and themes of refugee health and support. 2015-2016 UofMosaic Fellows Hodo Hussein, Rebecca Hagos, Sayjon Ariyarathnam and Dalubuhle Ndlovu collaborated on an ambitious and highly successful 4days4Syria event with the York University Libraries. Please check other initiatives we are working on through the Mosaic Institute’s website and its Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

Muslim Students Association

The Muslim Students Association is a mainstream Sunni Islamic Association. It facilitates the learning and practice of Islam on campus for Muslims and Non Muslims. Some of our services include facilitating daily and Friday prayers, educational resources, events, and Islamic classes. The MSA has been actively involved in partnering with organizations to help out with the Syrian Refugee crisis. We have had multiple clothing drives in the past for Syrian refugees. We have been giving donations on a regular basis to one of the York sponsored families. The MSA also recently partnered with York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative for a Winter Coat Drive for clients of Toronto’s FCJ Refugee Centre. For more information, please email: Their Facebook Page can be found at and their website is: .


‘RefugeAid’ raises awareness and fundraises about current and emerging trends affecting refugees, migrants, and asylums seekers. The current project revolves around awareness initiatives and fundraising efforts providing aid to the Syrian refugees fleeing the current civil war in Syria into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and the rest of North Africa through collaboration with MSF Canada and UNHCR Canada. They are located at Winters College, Room 145, Keele Campus, York University. You can contact them by email at

Refugee Health Outreach

Refugee Health Outreach is a student-led advocacy group that aims to promote the long-term health of resettled refugees in the GTA. We deliver informative and educational health-themed workshops to refugees and newcomers in effort to support and promote healthy lifestyles. We also raise awareness of the many barriers to health care that resettled refugees face through community events at York. By engaging with the public, we encourage dialogue in effort to break down these barriers. Furthermore, we organize fundraising initiatives throughout York to support local refugee resettlement agencies with their newcomer support services.

United Nations Children’s Fund at York

The purpose of the UNICEF club at York U is to educate, promote awareness and advocate for the protection of children’s rights, survival and development. UNICEF Club at York U will also organize on-campus fund-raising activities. Room: 107 Mclaughlin College, Keele Campus York University. You can contact them by email at .