Mount Royal University is hosting about 100 Ukrainian refugees at its townhouse residences and offering free use of some campus facilities.
The Calgary post-secondary has offered the accommodation at a discounted rate. Each townhouse has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and living room, allowing enough room for families, according to Mark Keller, director of residence services at MRU.
Keller said his team wants to help take care of the little things so the refugees can focus on getting established in Calgary.
"We also understand that it's not going to get better right away, that there's going to be a time period where people are adjusting, and we want to be here to answer those questions and provide that support," Keller said.
Sviatoslav Shurbin, 28, fled to Canada from Ukraine two weeks before the war started. He attended a meet-and-greet on Wednesday for Ukrainian residents at MRU to meet their neighbours.
Shurbin said that while he and his wife are safe in Canada and have new opportunities here, there's never a moment that goes by that he doesn't think about Ukraine.
"Every day I have that moment when I [think], 'No, I need to be there, not here.' It's horrible."
Shurbin said he never would've thought a war like the one he is watching unfold back home would ever have happened in the 21st century.
"It's crazy, to be honest, because all my friends, they are on duty now," Shurbin said.
"In my imagination, it's really another country now."
Helping out in the best way they can
According to Keller, his team was initially contacted by one of MRU's chaplins who was working with an agency in Calgary to support Ukrainians fleeing the war. Keller said he and his team were more than happy to offer campus residences to as many refugees as possible.
"My team has been really open. They want to help out. They want to get connected to people," he said.
Keller said it's heartbreaking that the MRU residences are needed by war refugees in 2022, but he's glad his team can help in whatever way they can.
He said the university's athletics and recreation team has been giving the refugees free passes to the recreation centre. The Riddell Library and Learning Centre at MRU has been offering printing services and setting up temporary accounts for people to check out items.