University of Wyoming’s only Ukrainian student mobilizes support for Ukraine

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

As the war in Ukraine rages on and evidence mounts of atrocities against civilians, the University of Wyoming’s only Ukrainian student is on a mission to rally support for her home country.

Anastasiia Pereverten is a Ukrainian exchange student who arrived in Laramie in January, a few weeks before her country was invaded by Russian soldiers.

Since the start of the war, Pereverten has reached out to students, staff and community members to educate them about its culture in an effort to help them relate to what is happening there.

“So after we organized our first gathering, a political science professor suggested that I give a lecture with his class,” Pereverten told the Cowboy State Daily. “So last week I was giving a talk about Ukrainian society, about my history and my personal experience of existing, functioning and working, just being part of Ukrainian society.”

Pereverten said in her presentation that she highlighted the feelings of loyalty that her generation has towards Ukraine.

“This is our country, and we will defend our country until victory,” she said.

Pereverten said students and staff at the University have embraced his cause. At an International Festival of Flavors last weekend, Pereverten said she cooked traditional Ukrainian dishes using her grandmother’s recipes and was pleasantly surprised by the popularity of Ukrainian cuisine .

“We expected to sell them in about four hours, but we ran out of food in an hour and a half,” she said. “We raised over $2,000 in an hour and a half, donating (the money) to World Central Kitchen, which is currently supplying Ukrainian refugees and Ukrainian civilians and the army in Ukraine, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa, supporting local volunteers who cook. for territorial defense and the Ukrainian army.

Photo by Rich Guenzel

Recently, Pereverten had a moment where she began to realize that her personal campaign had had an impact.

“When the war started, I provided the university with a list of books I can publish about Ukraine in English, so that our teachers and students have the opportunity to enrich their knowledge of Ukrainian history and Ukrainian culture,” she said. “Because a huge, huge part of this war and the pretext for this war was Russian disinformation and propaganda, and acquiring books from the library would be a great way to start that process. So I suggested to the library to buy these books.

“Two days ago I was walking to the library and noticed an art book by Ukrainian artists, which I had on my list, and it is being delivered to the library,” said she continued. “It’s absolutely stunning and amazing. I almost started crying.

Since the start of the war, Pereverten said she has been constantly emailing, meeting people, attending meetings and giving speeches to raise awareness of Ukraine’s plight.

And even if she finally feels that she is progressing, there is still a lot of work to be done.

This weekend, two free public events will shed light on how the people of Wyoming can express their solidarity with Ukraine.

On Friday, the UW Center for Global Studies is hosting a panel discussion at the UW College of Business Building with keynote speakers Richard Holwill (a retired U.S. ambassador) and UW economics professor Alexandre Skiba, himself from Ukraine.

Then on Saturday, a rally titled “Stand With Ukraine – Laramie” is due to begin at 10 a.m. at First Street Plaza in Laramie.

“The rally is to show that people don’t feel indifferent to what is happening in my country,” Pereverten said. “And people want to see the government implement, not just declare, but implement certain actions against Russia and in support of Ukraine.”

Pereverten added that for those wishing to support the efforts of organizations on the ground in Ukraine, she and other volunteers will be on hand to provide means to do so.

“Volunteer groups provide the Ukrainian army with medical supplies, ammunition, transportation and food and everything,” she said, but added that it was important to be selective, because many international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) generally accept large percentages of donations. for administrative costs.

“These will never reach Ukraine, in essence, that’s why we want to educate people on how to effectively support Ukraine,” Pereverten said.

Of his parents and family still living in a war zone, Pereverten said they are currently safe, having fled the capital Kyiv when the fighting started.

“They are considering the possibility of returning to Kyiv, which seems to be relatively safe again,” she said. “And we have 100% confidence in our victory.”

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