May 23, 2011 — Vol. 27 No. 21
The Idaho State University Japanese Club has raised approximately $20,000 for the Japan Red Cross's earthquake relief efforts. The amount received is almost double what the club had originally pledged to raise for the relief fund.
"I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the fund," said Sachiko Fukuoka, the faculty advisor of the ISU Japanese Club. "This much generosity is certainly heartwarming."
On March 11, Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake which generated a tsunami that ravaged the northeastern coast of Japan. The tsunami also caused a partial melt-down of a nuclear power plant at Fukushima. More than 400,000 people were displaced by the disaster. In mid-May the the Japanese National Police Agency confirmed 15,019 deaths, 5,279 injured and 9,506 people missing across 18 prefectures. Economic losses are expected to exceed several hundred billion dollars.
"Realizing the magnitude of the disaster and that the people of Japan would need help, members of the ISU Japanese Club created a Quake Relief fund almost immediately," stated Sachiko Fukuoka. The club pledged to raise $10,000 to send to the Japan Red Cross. They also changed the general theme of their 6th annual Japan night to include "helping the people of Japan" as a major theme and pledged the profits to the fund. In addition to accepting cash donations, members of the club set up an account with ISU to accept checks, placed pledge forms in the mailboxes of all the ISU staff, solicited money from local businesses, sold Japanese "Love" pins, and had lunch and bake sales on campus. One club member graciously donated $500 that he was saving for tuition stating that the Japanese people needed it more than him.
People beyond the club also raised money for the relief fund. Some people folded and sold small origami paper cranes-an eternal symbol of hope in Japan. Collection tins were set out at campus events, local service stations and restaurants. Many items from local businesses were also donated for the silent auction/raffle tickets for Japan Night. The ISU International Club donated 10 percent of their profits from their cultural night and at that event, concerned students from Saudi Arabia donated $500.