A decade ago, a major earthquake hit the Marmara region near Istanbul in Turkey. More than 17,000 people lost their lives, many more were injured and 600,000 were left homeless. In the days and months that followed, Sakarya University near the epicentre of the disaster in Adapazari played a leading role coordinating the efforts of NGOs and international assistance. Ten years on, the experience has changed the university and providing services to the local community is now an integral part of its mission.