The invasion of Ukraine impacts Augustana

Brett Kuras

Europe is experiencing the largest ground-based attack since World War II, according to the New York Times. When Russia moved forward with invading Ukraine, global politics came to a halt and politically minded-college students took notice. At Augustana, students and faculty have been watching the conflict unfold and feeling the effects of the invasion.

Augustana has been impacted in more ways than one since Russia began its invasion, despite being located in the Midwest with no formal ties to the country. Students and faculty fear for family abroad, economics at home and the safety in the U.S. 

Senior Jason Gluzkin has personal ties with the invasion. Gluzkin has family stranded in Ukraine, unable to flee safely. 

“My family is currently in a border town in the mountains next to Poland,” Gluzkin said. “Able-bodied men between the ages of 18-60 cannot leave the country as they are expected to stay and fight. Some members of my family also have severe sicknesses and they can’t leave them. It’s a tough situation.” 

Gluzkin and his family try to stay in contact every day, but it’s difficult not to worry that one day they’ll stop answering.

Gluzkin and his family have been using WhatsApp to stay in contact. WhatsApp is an internationally available instant message service.

“They tell us everything on the news, about the sirens blaring constantly, the battle to get food and water and how the stores are almost empty.”

While Gluzkin worries about his family in Ukraine, students on campus worry that the conflict may affect the United States in more concrete ways, as the country is already seeing the repercussions.

Senior Alyssa Twilbeck, president of College Democrats of Augustana, said that students have been paying close attention to the conflict. Twilbeck said many are worried about the economic impact it will have on them and wonder if it’ll become anything more in the United States.

 “Students are concerned about the economy with prices rising,” Twilbeck said. “I wouldn’t say there’s direct tension on campus right now, but it does worry some people when Russia makes indirect threats about nuclear war.”

Nuclear war has been a hot topic since the invasion, but Dr. Xiaowen Zhang, an international politics and relations professor, reassures the community that our area would not be a likely place to be attacked.

According to Zhang, Augustana College’s safety is unlikely to be threatened or at risk due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

 “Compared to larger cities, I don’t think we’re on the radar if Russia wanted to attack,” Zhang said. “It’s easier to hit coastal cities where there’s also much more population and economic base. Even with the Arsenal, I don’t think we’re at risk.”

The invasion is still ongoing, with peace talks forming between the two countries while news outlets try to report on the military conflict. A solution has not been formed from these talks and will continue so until an agreement is reached. Meanwhile, Augustana students can remain up-to-date and educate themselves on what international conflict means in the U.S.