Like many alumni, Kossi Binesi Atchrimi (IR ’19, USA) counts his time at CEU as among the best in his life.
Therefore, when the NYC-based alumnus heard last year that students from his program were arriving in the Big Apple to continue their studies, he didn’t hesitate.
“We were good friends back in Budapest,” he said. “And when I heard they were coming here I said ‘what time should I pick you up’?”
Starting last summer and through this academic year, Kossi would gas up his car and drive out to the airport to pick up IR students arriving to study at Bard College.
Later, he’d host parties for them at his Bronx apartment and show them around the city: trips to Brooklyn, Yankee Stadium, the Apollo Theatre and elsewhere.
This January was no exception. Another group of students arrived. Kossi made more trips to the airport.
But last month the Covid-19 pandemic intensified and had students scrambling for flights home. Kossi hit the road again, shuttling a dozen or so students back and forth to airports in New York and New Jersey.
So why did he do it?
“I loved my program,” he said. “I loved CEU, loved all the IR students and the whole CEU community. That’s why I’ll do everything in my power to help if I’m needed.”
A planning specialist with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Kossi said he knows how overwhelming NYC can be for new arrivals – something he experienced when he first arrived from his native Togo ten years ago.
NYC can also be expensive, where taxi fare from the airport can cost nearly 100 dollars per person. Another reason to help, he said.
Kossi’s downplayed having done anything out of the ordinary. However, he did suggest fellow alums follow his lead and help the community when they can.
“CEU was a good place to be, it helped us,” he said. “So we also have to help each other as much as CEU helped us.
Thank you, Kossi!
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CEU Alumni: how are you getting involved to help your community deal with the Covid-19 pandemic? Got a story to tell? Write us!