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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Ukraine Unbreakable

Ukraine
Photo by Photo Courtesy of Volodymyr Ploskanych
Ukraine

On Feb. 23, 2022, Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, reducing entire cities to piles of ash and forcing millions of Ukrainians to flee from their homes. Now, marking the one-year anniversary, Ukrainian Aggies aim to honor their heritage through a cultural commemoration that all students and community members are welcome to attend. 

On Saturday, Feb. 25, at 5 p.m., the Texas A&M Ukrainian Club will hold its “Ukraine Unbreakable” event in room 106 of the Plant Pathology and Microbiology building. Doors are open to all Aggies to enjoy traditional Ukrainian dishes, poetry, music and to support artisan vendors.

Assistant professor Artem Rogovskyy, Ph.D., is a member of the newly-established organization, but said the group is open to people of all backgrounds.

“Everyone is welcome,” Rogovskyy said. “I would like to see more Americans.”

Although it’s not a university-recognized organization yet, the Ukrainian Club already boasts an impressive membership of over 40 students, faculty and members of the Bryan-College Station community. In just two public meetings, founders sociology sophomore Volodymyr Ploskanych and economics freshman Natalya Kolomiyets have cultivated a community for those feeling disconnected from their home culture. 

In addition to members supporting one another, the Ukrainian Club’s mission is to help Ukrainians locally and worldwide, Ploskanych said. 

Ploskanych, a member of Corps of Cadets unit B-2, said he met with former Peace Corps volunteers to discuss philanthropy opportunities. 

“We’re discussing with them plans to send over some books that they have personally made for fundraising efforts through their time in Ukraine,” Ploskanych said. 

Additionally, the Ukrainian Club has already established a partnership with the national Arlene Campbell Humanitarian Foundation. The club plans on funding donations to the organization once it receives university funding.

Many members of this club have been long-distanced from their Ukrainian culture, while others were more recently displaced by the war. Ukrainian Club Vice President Kolomiyets said that, due to the war, she and her family left Ukraine as war refugees. 

“I came to Texas last April with my mom and two younger sisters,” Kolomiyets said. “We were in Ukraine when the war started.” 

Her family first fled to Hungary, then Germany, then finally settled in Texas, Kolomiyets said.

“When I came to [A&M], I really wanted to find Ukrainians,” Kolomiyets said. 

She said a GroupMe was created by Student Assistance Services which consisted of about 13 Ukrainian students.

“When I met these people, I felt like I was at home because these people are the same as me, and I was so happy,” Kolomiyets said. 

A tentative club was formed through word-of-mouth invitations that reached throughout the Bryan-College Station area. The first meeting, with no public bannering, tabling or public outreach, received approximately 30 attendees, according to Ploskanych. 

However, this is not the first time Ukrainian Aggies have tried to form a campus affinity, Ploskanych said. 

“Last year, when the war started, there was some attempt by grad students to form a Ukrainian community, but it never materialized into anything significant,” Ploskanych said. “It is unclear why those attempts dissolved without anything resolute, although an attendance of 40 members to a second general meeting holds promise for a bright future.”

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