More than a hundred students and faculty gathered Tuesday at the University of Guelph for a special vigil in support of Ukraine.

Oresta Hewryk shared with the group that stories she heard from her Ukrainian grandparents, about the Second World War, have come back to life for her family and friends.

"It's been terrifying just to see photos of places where I used to walk with my friends. Where I went for lunch and it's bombed or there's the anti-tank hedge hogs on the streets there," said Hewryk, the co-president of the Ukrainian Students Club.

"The University of Guelph joins those around the world calling for a peaceful and immediate end to this unwarranted aggression," noted Dr. Charlotte Yates, U of G's president, during the event.

Oresta Hewryk

In attendance at the vigil were several students, like Cory Schilling, who draped himself in the Ukrainian flag.

Schilling said he visited the country a couple of years ago while doing agriculture research just south of Kyiv.

"It just gives me a sense of grief and mourning," added Schilling. "It's just a beautiful country. The citizens. Everyone that I met there was friendly you know."

Other Ukrainian students like Christina Jmourko hope Canadians extends that same friendliness back by opening their hearts and homes to Ukrainian refugees.

"If people can come from Ukraine to Canada," she implored after the vigil. "Please give them what you can. Open up a room."

university of guelph u of g vigil ukraine russia

Hewryk noted while the club is fundraising along with the local Ukrainian Catholic Church in Guelph, many students like her feel helpless.

"You feel really guilty because it feels like I should be there. I should be helping out somehow. We stay here. We do what we can. We raise money. We go to marches. We write to our representatives in government. At night you lie awake. You just wonder, is that enough to save my family, to save my country?"