Students gather in response to Japan Disaster

By Joe Bruno 

In the most recent disaster, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on Friday March 11, killing at least 10,000 people.  Elon students are reaching out to Japan in their time of crisis.

Five Japanese exchange students moderated the event

Students gathered in the Isabella Cannon Center on Tuesday evening to discuss possible a fundraiser event  to aid Japan. Five Japanese exchange students moderated the event.

Senior Reiko Okada was especially grateful for all who took the time to attend, but she wishes she could be home.

“I would definitely rather be in Japan right now than here,” said Okada. “When I first heard about the earthquake I almost felt guilty for being here and for being safe. My whole family lives in Japan so I felt bad that I was here safe while everyone else is suffering back home.”

Okada said while an event will help, she still wishes that she could make a better impact at home.

“I feel like I could physically help out if I was there instead of being stuck here. I would rather be in the field.”

Hiroshi Wada, a junior from Osaka, mentioned that Lady Gaga is also trying to help Japan and encouraged those in attendance to look into her latest endorsement.

“Some people are really trying to help us. Like Lady Gaga’s wristband, if you buy it the money will go to Japan,” he said.

Senior Reiko Okada would rather be in Japan

Wada also thanked students for all the kind messages being sent to Japan, but warned them that the messages may not be received.

“Since the earthquake happened, many people have put messages on Facebook,” said Wada. “I really appreciate those messages but the problem is, most of the people don’t have internet.”

Some of the ideas pitched at the event include:

–       A six mile benefit run-  The waves went six miles into the coast and one person in attendance suggested that it is a very personal way to experience just how far the waves caused destruction.
–       One student suggested running a program similar to Pinch Hit for Haiti which raised around $16,000.
–       Dr. Smith Jackson suggested setting up a table for donations at the women’s playoff basketball game on Thursday.
–       A date-auction night where members of an athletic team could be auctioned off as dates.
–       One student suggested that Elon reaches out to other North Carolinian Universities and together all donate.

Dr. Smith Jackson suggesting an idea

The five Japanese students will be meeting tomorrow to discuss which event they would like to pursue.

“Ideally we would like to start the event after spring break,” said Okada.

It has yet to be decided which organization the money will be donated to but Wada mentioned that their intentions were favored toward Red Cross. Volunteers will be needed to assist with the process.

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