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‘Thursdays at the U’ speaker to share experiences of supporting refugees in western Wisconsin

| Linda Tollefsrud and Diane Walkoff

Photo caption: Last January, UW-Eau Claire students and faculty members, including Chris Jones, spent two weeks with Afghan families who were living at Fort McCoy as they went through the process of relocating to the U.S. (Submitted photo)

When you picture a refugee, what comes to mind? You may have a specific image, or you may have difficulty thinking of refugees without additional context.

Chris Jones

Chris Jones

Chris Jones, a lecturer in kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campuses in Rice Lake and Eau Claire, had the pleasure of working with Afghan refugees through a UW-Eau Claire immersion program last winter.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, Jones hopes to shed new light on the refugee experience when he presents “The Refugee Experience in Western Wisconsin” as part of the “Thursdays at the U” series at the University of Wisconsin – Barron County.

He will speak from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234, Ritzinger Hall). The presentation also will be livestreamed.

Jones will provide a brief history of the Afghan people, perspectives on his experiences while sharing time with the refugees and future considerations to support those from Afghanistan.

“The immersion was a life-changing experience that has further solidified my attitude and vigor in helping others, both on the international stage and in our local communities,” Jones says.

Jones holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise and sport science from UW-La Crosse. Before starting his teaching career, he shared his passion for helping others through human movement as a personal trainer, corporate health advocate, strength and conditioning coach and athletic director. 

The “Thursdays at the U” weekly series is free and open to the public thanks to support from the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation. Neither seating reservations nor parking permits are needed for campus guests.

For more information about the series, call the campus at 715-788-6244 or email Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, the series organizer, at tollefla@uwec.edu.