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Carnegie Mellon students leave a need for Japan fundraising unfulfilled

The recent series of disasters that has plagued Japan — an earthquake, then a tsunami, then a nuclear power plant crisis — has fostered international compassion for the victims. The global community has shown its dedication to help the country on a similar scale to the relief provided to Haiti after the devastating earthquake that hit it last January.
Aside from global dedication to relief efforts in regard to Haiti, we saw local action toward relief efforts right here at Carnegie Mellon. Within a week of the earthquake, Carnegie Mellon had put together a Dollar Campaign (where each student was asked to donate just one dollar to the campaign), participated in a Wear Red for Haiti Day, held a prayer service for the victims of the earthquake, and held a candlelight vigil in addition to the relief efforts hosted by individual student organizations.

In contrast, Carnegie Mellon’s response to the current crisis in Japan has been minimal at best. After a single newsletter from President Cohon and some concentrated efforts by Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley campus, not much has been done on an administrative or student level to raise relief for Japan.

In the past week, we have seen many citizens putting forth a concerted effort to aid the Japanese in recovering from the disasters. Some citizens are driving the donation effort to the Red Cross and other charitable groups; similarly, the United States military was quick to offer its military bases in Japan as relief centers. Even some corporations are doing their part by offering special services, like AT&T’s offer of free calls and texting from the U.S. to Japan.

Over a week has passed since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami hit Japan, yet the campus response has remained weak with only one or two student organizations selling baked goods and the like in an effort to raise relief funds. Another Dollar Campaign for Japan and other large scale relief fundraisers would not be remiss. We know the campus is capable of great compassion because it a little over a year since Haiti’s crisis. We hope that Carnegie Mellon and its students can step up to the plate again and show the world our desire to help and our capacity to give.