Relief Efforts Spring Up at UC Riverside


RIVERSIDE — The UC Riverside community is raising money to deliver some relief to wide swaths of Japan devastated by an earthquake, a tsunami and nuclear power radiation.

Because Sendai is a sister city of Riverside, UC Riverside has forged a number of relationships with Japanese institutions, including Tohoku University in Sendai, Josai University and Josai International University in Tokyo, and 18 others.

At the time of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, UCR had 12 graduate students, 23 undergraduates and 109 extension students who are from Japan. In addition, 11 UCR students were studying in Japan at the time the earthquake hit. They are all safe and have all been asked to come back to Riverside.

“I commend our leadership in University Extension, Student Affairs, the Asian Pacific Student Program and the Counseling Center for immediately springing to action to support our students,” said Chancellor Timothy White in his Friday letter last week.

Students from UCR’s student chapter of the American Red Cross got right to work in collecting donations by setting up a table near the Highlander Union Building last week. They raised more than $1,000. They documented their efforts in a YouTube video. On Wednesday, March 30, the same group will set up a donation table again during a blood drive near Olmstead Hall.

Students from UC Riverside Extension collected money for the Red Cross with a quick fundraiser that rewarded donors with hugs. Also, extension students are making 1,500 bookmarks to be sold, with profits going to quake victims. The student contact for UCR’s Red Cross chapter is Anna Srouji, [email protected].

UCR’s International Education Center will be sponsoring the signing of a banner of condolence and remembrance for Tohoku University from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day between March 28 and April 1 at the bell tower. Those interested in volunteering can e-mail Kinjo at [email protected].

May is designated at Asian Pacific Heritage Month, and many activities planned for that time will make a connection to earthquake recovery. There are groups planning arts performances at the downtown ARTSblock and festivals at UC Riverside Extension, as well as a YouTube event being organized by the Associated Student Programs Board. Details are not yet set.

Two students at UC Riverside Extension heard dramatic stories from their family back home.

Akiko Kosaka is from a town that was overcome by the tsunami. She had visual proof of the survival of her family through Japanese TV news and a clip posted on YouTube.

Maaya Suzuki is from Iwaki, a town about 50 kilometers from the compromised nuclear power plant. Her family survived the disasters, but her father, Umashi Suzuki, is a physician treating people who are suffering from exposure to the weather and injuries sustained in the disaster. She has returned to Japan now to try to help her family and friends.

Maria Mendoza, a library assistant at UCR, has a son who teaches high school near the quake epicenter. She spent many hours trying to reach him and finally succeeded.

Related links:

Red Cross Collection Video

FAQ for International Education

Donate Through Riverside to Japan

Revive Japan Through Red Cross Society of Japan


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