Campus News

Rally raises support, awareness for Ukraine

UB community members gathered to show support for the people of Ukraine. Photos: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki


Published March 7, 2022

Khrystyna Adam.
“My Bio 387 professor, he made a PowerPoint and the first slide was the Ukrainian flag. That made me feel really good when you come into class and feel that support. ”
Khrystyna Adam, UB junior and native of Ukraine

The war in Ukraine may seem distant from life at UB, but not for graduate student Antonina Bandrivska, who fears for family and friends caught in the middle of the conflict.

So does senior Gregory Hawuczyk, who’s glued to his phone each night for the latest news on the war.

Junior Khrystyna Adam has been distracted ever since the bombing began in Ukraine.

“After that day the invasion occurred, my life just shut off,” Adam said. “My mind has been totally focused on the war.”

Bandrivska, Hawuczyk and Adam were among the roughly 50 or so students, staff and faculty who gathered in the lobby of the Student Union last Friday for a unity rally in support of Ukraine.

“Glory to Ukraine,” said Hawuczyk, reciting the country’s national salute.

“Glory to the heroes,” came the traditional reply from supporters.

The rally was organized by the student-run group Friends of Ukraine to raise awareness, said Hawuczyk, the club’s president.

Supporters posed for photos in front of a Ukrainian flag. They collected donations for humanitarian efforts. Shawn J. Donahue and Collin Anderson, clinical assistant professors in the Department of Political Science, provided some perspective and history of the conflict.

Staff from the Counseling Center were on hand in case students struggling with the news out of Ukraine wanted to speak to a counselor. In a show of support, Student Life has reached out directly to students with ties to Ukraine. President Satish K. Tripathi issued a statement in support of the Ukrainian people.

“Ukraine is seven hours ahead of us, so their mornings are our nights,” Hawuczyk said. “So around 11 p.m. we’re constantly worried, constantly on our phones — checking in with family members, checking in on the news to see what’s new.”

Bandrivska, a fifth-year graduate student, has friends in eastern Ukraine, which is occupied by Russian troops. Her father was in Kyiv, the capital, before fleeing to western Ukraine.

“I talk every day to my dad, to all my friends,” Bandrivska said. “I make sure I thank God that everyone is alive and healthy and safe. That’s all that matters.”

Senior Oleg Savka, who immigrated to Rochester from Ukraine at age 4, is in disbelief about what’s going on in Ukraine. He did not anticipate the country would be engulfed in war.

“I didn’t think this was actually going to happen. I downplayed it, to be honest. I just thought it was some game between the West and the East,” said Savka, a business major. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I just pray for the best.”

Adam, a biological sciences major who immigrated to Syracuse from Ukraine at age 9, has only her mother and father here in the U.S. The rest of her family — cousins, aunts, grandmothers — are all back in Ukraine.

She is grateful for the support of her UB family during these difficult days.

“My professors have been really understanding, and they personally reached out to me and sent emails,” Adam said.

“My Bio 387 professor, he made a PowerPoint and the first slide was the Ukrainian flag,” she said. “That made me feel really good when you come into class and feel that support.”