Map of Bangladesh

In January, Charles Biswas and Clare Malakar travelled from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Waterloo, Canada. As Conrad Grebel University College’s new Campus Hosts, Grebel staff and students made sure to greet them with a lively welcome at the entrance doors, warm clothing, and fresh homemade food.  

Grebel is all about building a safe and supportive community — that’s where Campus Hosts step in. Campus Hosts live in the residence apartment and represent Grebel during non-business hours. The role requires a keen sense of hospitality — welcoming guests, providing information, responding to urgent needs of dons, students, and guests, participating in events, and much more. The role also carries considerable responsibility for the building's safety, such as emergency responses and security duties.  

“Together as a couple, Charles and Clare are exceptionally qualified for the position of Campus Hosts,” explained Paul Penner, Director of Operations. “Grebel is fortunate to have their wealth of expertise, multicultural perspective, and their hospitable, fun-loving nature in our community.”  

Charles is currently enrolled in the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program at Grebel. He was the Administrative and HR Officer at the Mennonite Central Committee office in Dhaka, completed the Conflict Management and Mediation Training at Fresno-Pacific University, and worked as a Victim Offender Reconciliation Program volunteer in Fresno, California. Clare was an economics and accounting teacher at an English high school. She was also a volunteer with the Dhaka Fire Service and Civil Defense service. Wherever they travel, they have gotten involved with their church community as youth workers and musicians.  

“Grebel has a wonderful community. It is always full of activities and social events, which helps make student life more mesmerizing,” said Clare. Like many Grebelites, Charles and Clare find Wednesdays to be a highlight of their week, with Chapel followed by Community Supper. “These events help us build a stronger faith, but they also enhance our insight toward the community,” the couple shared. “We really loved the concept of having presentations on various perspectives during Community Supper. It helps all of us to become acquainted with different issues.” 

As they adjust to cold winters and learn about Canadian culture, they invite staff and students to exchange stories about Canada with them and learn about Bangladeshi culture in return. Charles and Clare love to share facts and anecdotes about Bangladesh, such as songs and beautiful places to visit. They have travelled extensively in Bangladesh and have lots of interesting stories to share about each place, including Barishal, Mymensingh, and Cox’s Bazar.  

“We are looking forward to connecting with more people, so that we can understand the culture of Canada as well as fulfill our duties accordingly,” said Clare. Charles and Clare hope to bond with Grebelites through conversations about their hobbies and interests, such as movies to watch, music to listen to, or places to visit. 

“We are grateful to Grebel for this wonderful opportunity to be Campus Hosts. We would like to bestow our gratitude to everyone for being supportive and helpful,” shared the couple. “We love the environment and spirit that is always present at Grebel. We are looking forward to having wonderful memories with all of you.”

By Farah Jurdi