When Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February, it was not the first time Artem Yushko ’25 and his family had experienced war at the hands of Russia. In 2014, Yushko’s father delivered body armor to Eastern Ukraine. But because of this experience, Yushko knew what his role was going to be: “I had to use all the resources I had to reach as many people as I could and convince them to donate… My dad had told me many stories about how effective the donations could be… the equipment bought with those donations literally saves lives.” In February, Yushko sent out campus emails, put up posters around campus and coordinated with Five Dollar Fridays to raise awareness and funds to donate to Ukraine. This proved effective, and Yushko generated a hefty donation. After this initial effort, Yushko worked with Osip Surdutovich ’23 to organize two more fundraisers that occurred in April, which they collaborated with the Carleton Student Association (CSA) to put on.
“My family is from Ukraine, and I have friends there. It has been really tough following the news, and it felt nice to do something that might help Ukraine,” Surdutovich said regarding why he was motivated to organize fundraising efforts for Ukraine. He continued, “It always feels like we can’t do anything and that we just have to hope for a better outcome. But raising funds and awareness makes it feel a bit better.” In early March, the CSA contacted Surdutovich and Yushko and asked how they could be helpful to the initiative. They spent some time brainstorming and eventually decided to do a bake sale and give out candies as fundraisers. Yushko and Surdutovich continued to spearhead the project, but CSA helped out behind the scenes. Jivana Nagpal, Class of 2025 Representative, noted the role of CSA: “CSA helped get more people involved to work behind the scenes for the fundraiser, helped promote our efforts and assisted with funding.” Yushko was thankful for the help provided by CSA, pointing to their assistance with logistics like helping cook, bake, set up tables in Sayles. Nagpal, along with many others, was part of the group cooking pyrizhky, borscht and an apple cake for the bake sale.
Thanks to the hard work of Surdutovich and Yushko, along with support from CSA, the fundraisers were a success. Both students and everyone else involved were ecstatic with the results. Yushko said, “I was really happy to see that we managed to get around $3,500, all of which was sent to a trusted organization. I can definitely call it a massive success!” He continued to say, “Thank you all who participated in those fundraisers and who donated to help my homeland. I am really grateful for that, and I am pretty sure that your help was able to save lives in another part of the world. Thank you.” Surdutovich agreed and elaborated, “Especially when everyone was so supportive of the cause and ready to help. People in Ukraine are fighting for their lives, and it means the world to me, my family and all of Ukraine that people at Carleton care and are willing to help.”
There are no more fundraisers for Ukraine planned as of right now, but there likely will be in the future according to Surdutovich and Yushko.