Purdue students, Nobel laureate raise $22,000 to aid Japan; speak of earthquake's personal impact
Elizabeth McKenzie (center), a senior in the College of Science, and Naoki Wada, a junior in the College of Engineering, staff a donation site for the Purdue Japan Relief Fund. (Photo courtesy of the Purdue Japan Student Association)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University student organization leaders and Nobel laureate Ei-ichi Negishi will present a donation of more than $22,000 to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake Relief Fund at a 10 a.m. event on Monday (May 23) at the Dauch Alumni Center's Prusiecki Banquet Room.
Purdue's Japan Student Association and Purdue Student Government led a campus-wide fundraising effort to help the victims of the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami, and Negishi, who was in Yamato, Japan, when the earthquake hit, offered to double the funds raised up to $10,000.
Negishi and students from the Japan Student Association, Mizuki Wada and Shintaro Masuno, will speak about the fundraising campaign and how the devastating earthquake and tsunami impacted their lives. A statement from Yoshinori Yamamoto, a professor of chemistry and former deputy president at Tohoku University in Japan, also will be read.
Additional speakers include Brett Highley, president of Purdue Student Government; Shuichiro Miwa, graduate student and member of the Japan Student Association; and Robert Wollenburg, executive director of the Tippecanoe County chapter of the American Red Cross.
Wada feared for her relatives' lives after the earthquake and tsunami, which is estimated to have claimed more than 20,000 lives and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
"I couldn't reach my aunt and cousins who live in Tohoku, where there was terrible damage, for two weeks after the earthquake," said Wada, who is a graduate student in aeronautical and astronautical engineering. "Luckily they were safe, but many others were not as fortunate. The experience made me reconsider the meaning of life and death. I felt useless being away from my home country when so many people needed help. It gave me new insight into the importance of support and what I can do for others after such a disaster strikes."
Purdue students began raising money for Japan disaster relief just days after the events, and 29 student organizations participated in the campaign. Fundraising events included a performance by the dancing group "Team Momenta" on the Purdue Memorial Union front lawn that included 1,000 backflips for Japan, a basketball tournament hosted by the Asian American and Filipino associations, and sales of a "Help Japan" poster created by College of Liberal Arts student Zac Neulieb.
The students continue to seek donations, which can be brought to the Student Activities and Organizations office in Schleman Hall, Room 250. Checks should be made payable to the Purdue Japan Disaster Relief fund.
Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, firstname.lastname@example.org