Virtual reality event focuses on refugee crisis

Emma Collins

No Lost Generation, a student-run organization, is scheduled to host a virtual reality event today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Centennial Mall to raise awareness about the plight of young refugees around the world.

Louisville sophomore Erin Woggon said No Lost Generation focuses on the world’s refugee crisis. She said this event will allow participants to immerse themselves in another life through a virtual reality film that focuses on the life of a young refugee, and the event will hopefully educate participants about the struggles refugees, particularly Syrian refugees, face when fleeing from their home countries.

“[College students] are very isolated to the tragedy that’s happening in the world,” Woggon said.

Louisville senior Natalie Webb said participants will put on a cardboard headset similar to goggles. With the use of a phone app, participants will find themselves in a refugee camp in Jordan with a young Syrian girl.

Webb said the event is beneficial because it allows people to see the life of a refugee on a deeper level.

“We never get that sort of completely immersive experience,” Webb said.

This marks the second time No Lost Generation has offered a virtual reality event. Last fall, the group set up a table in DSU and invited people to write on a whiteboard why they support refugees.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who came up and talked to us,” Woggon said.

Woggon said the large turnout prompted the group to move the event outside to Centennial Mall this semester to reach even more people. She said the event can be “a stop-and-go thing,” and even people who may be in a hurry can briefly stop at the table and put on the headset to briefly look around.

Louisville senior Maggie Sullivan, who started the WKU chapter of No Lost Generation, said watching even a small section of the film is beneficial.

“Any snippet of the world that you see is very important,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the virtual reality was unique because it allowed participants to see the life of a refugee without having someone else tell the refugee’s story.

“We never want to get in the situation where we’re telling people’s stories for them,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said participants will get to see life in a refugee camp. During the film, the girl sits down with her family for a meal. Sullivan said this part, in particular, stood out to her because of how similar it was to her own experience of eating dinner with her family.

Woggon said WKU’s No Lost Generation works to advocate for refugees. She said in general, No Lost Generation was created in response to the crisis in Syria.

Woggon said WKU’s No Lost Generation also focuses on Bosnian refugees because Bowling Green has a large Bosnian population. She said the group works on advocacy efforts, and they are trying to start a mentorship program with Bowling Green’s International Center of Kentucky.

Sullivan said any students are welcome to become members of No Lost Generation. She said anyone who is interested can email [email protected].

Reporter Emma Collins can be reached at 270-745-6011 or e[email protected].