UMass Boston students' thoughts on Ukraine

A rendered map of Ukraine.

As the days since Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine become weeks, sources in the region show that the situation has no signs of abating. Over 13,000 people have been arrested during anti-war protests within Russia, and when the U.S. government offered to evacuate Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President responded saying, “I need ammunition, not a ride."

Amidst the chaos, death and destruction, the Ukrainian people have shown the world incredible courage and determination in their fight for freedom. Despite the domestic show of support, solidarity and material aid, many feel anxious knowing that further U.S. involvement in the conflict would mean a dangerous escalation between the world’s foremost nuclear powers.

While thousands gathered in the Public Garden on Sunday, Feb. 27 in a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the fact remains that the invasion has become an all-out ground war, leaving many of the campus community wondering what will happen next. The Mass Media spoke to students, asking how they were handling the developing situation.

Brandon, a Computer Science major stated: “I have a few friends who are from Ukraine and I definitely like checking on them. Even though they’re here in the U.S. where it’s safer, their families are still over there and they’re worried about them.”

Other students were thankful for the support of groups on campus.

M.G., a Philosophy and Public Policy major said: “Certainly I’ve been following what the UMass Boston Human Rights group has been doing, and it’s been talked about in class. I’m very grateful for the professors who are carving out time for us to discuss the matter, whether that’s just kind of sharing our thoughts or going a little bit more into depth.”

Human Services major, Madeline, voiced solidarity with the people of Ukraine, asserting: “The stress that I feel is mainly towards the wellbeing of Ukrainians and just keeping them in my thoughts.”

Leon, President of the Khmer Culture Association, credited the Internet for helping ease his worry, saying: “I feel like a lot of my worries are diffused by meme culture. Initially, when I was a lot less informed, I had worries about being drafted. I feel like it’s a lot more desensitized now.” 

Some voiced concerns about the potential of U.S. involvement, including Joe, who worried: “Hopefully the U.S. doesn’t get too involved, but I also hope that in Ukraine, the people are taken care of. There shouldn’t be any war between Ukraine and Russia”.

When asked if any of his professors had spoken on the matter, Joe responded that as an Exercise Health Science major, he wasn’t surprised that the topic hadn’t come up in any of his classes.

Student Blake shared that the conflict in Ukraine is “something that I haven’t really been educated upon, but I know that, from what I’m seeing, it seems like it’s escalating a lot. I’m definitely kind of worried about where we’re going to take our part in thisare we going to enter this?” 

Student Yancy expressed concern about refugees “exiting and not being able to get on trains due to being a specific race. I’m learning about it on my own, but I have one teacher that talks about it. He’s shown a couple videos, and it’s part of our class learning.”

Though Russia faces mounting sanctions from the U.S. and NATO, at this time, the fighting continues.

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