In the wake of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and its subsequent tsunami that devastated Japan last week, students are trying to find ways to help.
The Japanese Student Association will be sponsoring ‘Coins for a Cause’ boxes at the campus markets and cafes next week, according to Angela Rola, director of the Asian American Cultural Center (AsACC).
Rola said that there are currently four graduate students from the Sendai region of Japan enrolled at the university.
“A lot of the student organizations are asking what they can do,” Rola said.
UConn's Community Outreach and the AsACC will also be conducting an informational meeting open to the public next week to discuss relief efforts. They have tentatively scheduled the meeting for Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the .
“We’re trying to work with the students and try and make sure they follow the guidelines,” Miguel Colón, program coordinator at Community Outreach, said. “People need to know where the money ends up," he said.
Many students helped on Thursday via Dining Services’ ‘Give A Meal’ Program, swiping meal cards at $2.50 a swipe (with a maximum of two swipes) to donate to relief efforts in Japan. Dining Services is working with Community Outreach and the AsACC to determine the best charity to work with to ensure that the maximum amount of the money donated goes towards relief efforts.
The ‘Give A Meal’ Program, which began in 1987, happens once a semester and often pulls in over $10,000 for various community projects such as the Coventry Soup Kitchen or sponsoring alternative Spring Break trips to aid post-Katrina New Orleans or Pine Ridge Reservation in western South Dakota, according to Dennis Pierce, director of Dining Services.
In the unfortunate event of catastrophes such as 9/11, Katrina and Haiti, Dining Services donates all of the money raised, which is often thousands of dollars, to one relief agency.
According to Pierce, the money donated comes out of the department’s revenue stream, rather than as a direct donation by the students. “We use this mechanism as a counter for how much we donate,” Pierce said.
UConn’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) will be collecting donations from students in the next week, with all donations going to AmeriCares, which has historically supplied over $3,500 in relief supplies for every $100 donated, according to an e-mail sent out by HOSA’s President, Crystal Xue.
AmeriCares is on Community Outreach’s list of reputable charities.
Many of the major telephone service providers are providing international long distance and text messages to Japan from the United States and Puerto Rico free of charge until March 31.
You can also text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to give a $10 donation to help the American Red Cross with disaster support efforts in the area, according to their Web site.
For information on how to contribute to disaster relief in Japan, visit the Community Outreach Web site.