posted 2011-04-06 13:00:33

Hunter Helps Japan - Students and staff raise funds and awareness

Hunter Helps Japan

Students and staff raise funds and awareness

Ali Sarfaraz

Contributing Writer

The recent earthquake-tsunami disaster in Japan has left Hunter students and staff eager to help. Since the catastrophe on March 11, Hunter has poured efforts into both helping the Japanese community in school and sending relief to thousands of people in Japan who have been affected.

Xavier Remigio, the International Student Advisor and Disaster Relief Coordinator, has been at the center of these efforts. After the natural disaster, Remigio and the International Students Affairs Office immediately “contacted our students who are Japanese national to inform them of the services we provide to them.

“We had to be concerned about their immigration status and whether or not it needed to be extended,” he underscored.

Remigio emphasized “that there are services available for Japanese students who may need academic assistance, personal counseling, or have questions about their enrollment. These services will be available through student services.”

On March 21, Remigio attended a meeting with the CUNY Vice-chancellor of Student Affairs, Dr. Frank Sanchez. The meeting addressed contingency plans for relief efforts and how to disseminate information to Japanese nationals at CUNY and in New York City on the resources available to them.

Remigio also reached out to the Japanese Media and Culture Club. Kendra Mcduffle, a member of the organization, detailed the club’s plans to help Japan. “Our club is holding a fundraiser on May 27 for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. The event is a presentation of Japanese fashion from Kimono to Bosozoku (street gangs) called ‘GO! Fashion Japan,’” she said.  The event will be held in the Lang Recital Hall on the 4th floor of the Hunter North building. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event begins at 7:00 p.m. There are over 35 students who are helping to form this event and the goal is to raise over $1500. “An organization such as the Red Cross will be designated to receive the funding,” Remigio noted.

Other Hunter groups have been similarly active in raising relief funds.

Through the group Artists Responding to Global Issues (ARGI), Hunter alumni Rebecca Imaizumi and Lannette Alvarez, are also organizing a fundraising event to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The event will take place at Hunter, and proceeds will go to the non-profit organizations JEN (formerly Japan Emergency NGOs) and Peace Winds Japan. The two organizations are helping families in northeastern Japan.

The Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH) also did its part. The CRAASH bake sale on March 28 raised over $1000 towards relief in Japan. “The Hunter community never fails to amaze us with its generosity and solidarity,” the group’s Facebook page read after the event.

Hunter students have been very vocal about the disaster in Japan and what can be done to help. Matteo Betti, a sophomore majoring in political science, emphasized that “the U.S. should be involved as much as other nations around the world are in terms of giving and helping [Japan] recover from the disaster.”

He added, “I don’t think the U.S. should comment on how Japan’s government has been dealing with the tragedy in terms of decision-making and actions that have been taken.”

“It’s a great tragedy,” said Kevin Liu, a junior majoring in psychology. Liu also went on to say, “Every country including the U.S. should be involved…even China has volunteered help despite past occurrences during World War II,” he said. Liu mentioned that the U.S. has “many investments in Japan, [so] it is in the best interest of the U.S. to help and assist”.

Betti also noted that, “this tragedy should make us reflect upon how limited we are compared to natural forces.”