March 17, 2011

Japanese Student Association plans fundraiser

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A three-day drive is set for next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to raise funds to assist victims in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.

The Japanese Student Association, a registered student organization, will hold the drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, March 22-24. The fundraising effort will be near the north end of the first floor of the Student Center, near the TV lounge. The donations will go to the American Red Cross’ Little Egypt Network and assist in providing medical care and disaster relief assistance.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the donation drive. For more information, contact Tomoe Nishio at 534-1049 or Go Matsumoto at 618/319-5065.

The record 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck northern Japan on March 11. Reports currently list more than 14,000 people dead or missing, but officials estimate the numbers will increase. Hundreds of thousands are homeless. In addition, emergency workers are trying to cool overheated nuclear reactors at a plant on the nation’s northeast coast.

Tomoe Nishio, a graduate student in linguistic anthropology, said the goal is to raise funds to assist in relief efforts, and to continue to raise awareness. Nishio said her family, which lives in Aichi Prefecture, is safe.

“I can’t stop watching the news,” she said. “Even though the news tears my heart apart, still I can’t stop watching it. It encourages me to do whatever I can do from a distance.”

Nishio said she anticipates the organization will plan additional events.

Carla Coppi, interim director of International Students and Scholars, said there are 23 students from Japan at SIUC and all of their families are safe. In addition, people affiliated with the University’s former branch campus in Nakajo, now Tanai City, Japan, are also safe.

Check and cash donations are acceptable. Receipts from the American Red Cross will also be available. Checks are payable to the American Red Cross or the Japanese Student Association. A Facebook page “Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund” is also set up with additional information.