GSU employees stands with Ukraine
Governors State University’s (GSU) Natasza Juraszek knew she had to do something when she first saw images of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the news five weeks ago. Juraszek, who moved from her native Poland to the U.S. in 1998, now works as GSU’s COVID-19 Campus Support Administrator in the College of Health and Human Services.
Watching images on television, Juraszek was simultaneously horrified by the brutality of the war and filled with compassion for neighbors in her beloved Poland.
“The invasion is so tragic,” said Juraszek, a dual-citizen. “What I thought was, ‘I need to share whatever I can with them.’ ‘’
Moved by the suffering of millions of Ukrainian refugees sheltering in Poland from the war, Juraszek sprang into action, putting together boxes filled with warm clothing, toiletry items, non-perishable goods, and other supplies. Then, she shipped three boxes off to her cousins in Poland who will help distribute them to those in need.
Juraszek’s compassion inspired her GSU colleagues, who also donated baby clothes and food to help sustain war refugees trapped in basements, train stations and schools.
Ukrainian-born Svetlana “Lana” Rogachevskaya is Executive Director of the GSU Center for Performing Arts.
She is collecting items to send humanitarian aid to Kharkiv, Ukraine which she called home until her 19th birthday. Many of her cousins are still there, driving Rogachevskaya to work with organizations in the south suburbs to purchase essential items on Amazon today through April 2. Click here to shop and donate.
Feeling restless and reflective, Rogachevskaya recently posted her thoughts on Facebook:
"You are my motherland
Fields full of golden color intertwined with blue sky.
Flower crowns, handmade wreaths, adorned."
Both Rogachevskaya and Juraszek say they were encouraged by President Green’s message on the conflict. “As a university that celebrates diversity and inclusion at its core, Governors State University cannot be silent in the face of death and destruction for any society,'' Dr. Green wrote.
Juraszek said she was grateful to be part of a community that supports the country she loves though it feels so far away. “I’m not there, so the only thing I could think of was to share whatever I have here,” she said.
For Juraszek, the generous gesture boils down to an age-old adage: to treat others how she’d want to be treated.
“Today they need help; tomorrow I might need help,” she said. “I didn’t do this because I want them to pay me back. I did this because we are all equal. We are human beings.”
To help Rogachevskaya's humanitarian effort, click here. Items purchased can be sent directly to Shir Tikvah in Homewood to ensure an overseas delivery on April. 2