Through the Stevens Initiative, the COIL Center identifies educators across the SUNY system who are interested in adding virtual exchange to their courses, and assists them in establishing partnerships with peers at institutions across the Middle East and North Africa. The COIL Center runs trainings and workshops online and in both regions to prepare educators for the intensive collaboration that is required to make COIL courses a success.
Following a COIL professional development workshop in Cairo, Alice Caroompas, Adjunct Professor in the English Department at SUNY Broome, met Joseph Seif, a SUNY Broome student senator. Joseph has been working with refugees in Lebanon and raising funds to send to the Lebanese Red Cross. His goals were to raise at least $10,000 in order to increase awareness about the refugee crisis and clear up misconceptions about Lebanon and Syrian Refugees. There are 1.5 million refugees – many of them highly doctors, lawyers, and teachers – in Lebanon, which has a native population of 4.5 million.
After Joseph and Alice integrated his effort into Alice’s courses, the campaign spread across Broome and nearby Tompkins Cortland Community College campus, where Alice is also an adjunct. On March 2, 2016, she conducted a ‘Common Hour’ to introduce her upcoming course and recruit interested students and faculty to organize community-wide donation sites.