Extraordinary People: SUNY Geneseo student changes lives at refugee camp

Geneseo student spent summer at refugee - As students at SUNY Geneseo get back into the swing of things, many will be sharing their summer experiences.

Sophomore Michael Hughes spent his summer in Greece, but not on vacation. He was in a refugee camp. 

"What I really enjoyed about it was that I talked to the families and they're humans," said Hughes. "Yes, they are refugees, but that's not a good label for them. They're people too."

Hughes traveled with his mother, a professor at the University at Buffalo, and many of her nursing students. A week and a half in the camp reminded Hughes how much so many of us take for granted. 

"Knowing what they went through made me realize how privileged we are to be at college in the U.S.," said Hughes. "Being a white male, I know I was already born into privilege but I still want to help out people who are not born into privilege."

And while Hughes spent his summer with refugees from the Middle East and Northern Africa, he's encouraging his fellow students to just get involved, even here at home.

"Not everyone has the opportunity that I did to go there, but I just recommend, you still get self satisfaction in volunteering."

Hughes says what he learned this summer are lessons that cannot be taught in the classroom. He's now hoping to study for a career in medicine to help as many people as he can.


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