Continued Japan relief efforts color campus

Students spray their hair different colors to raise funds for Japan relief efforts. (credit: Thomas Hofman/Photo Editor) Students spray their hair different colors to raise funds for Japan relief efforts. (credit: Thomas Hofman/Photo Editor)

More than three weeks have passed since Japan was struck by an earthquake and tsunami that also started an ongoing nuclear crisis. However, to exacerbate the country’s problems, a series of small earthquakes of various magnitudes have since erupted in Japan. The impact of the first quake and following tsunamis was massive, razing homes to the ground and killing thousands of citizens.

Presently, Japan is in need of tremendous support and aid from the world. Carnegie Mellon students have already begun making efforts to aid the country. Student organizations have been raising money in several novel, yet successful ways.

The International Student Union (ISU) organized a series of soccer matches at Gesling Stadium to gather funds for the Japan disaster at the beginning of the month. Puja Agarwal, a sophomore information systems and human- computer interaction major, spoke about the idea behind the fundraiser, as well as the reaction and support the ISU received from students. Agarwal, along with the rest of the ISU board, put up posters across dorms and academic buildings announcing the soccer matches. The posters read, “Are you a fan? Come show your madness — Support Japan.”

The fundraiser involved having as many teams participate as possible, with each team consisting of seven to nine players. Every player on the participating teams contributed $45.
“We knew that everyone enjoyed soccer, and we thought that this would be a fun way to raise money,” Agarwal said. Six teams came out to play, accompanied by many viewers. In addition to hosting the matches, the ISU board sold popcorn to the bystanders and those enjoying the match.

“We kept the rules pretty simple. Teams competed one by one against each other in set groups, and the winners of each match went forward to the next match, against another winning team,” said Agarwal. It was clear that both the participants and organizers kept donations as the priority, giving less importance to who would be the referees or who the ultimate winner would be. Agarwal claimed that “the best part of the event was seeing the crowd and teams play on a Friday night for this cause.”

The money raised by ISU will go to Carnegie Mellon’s Japanese Student Association; the money raised collectively by the two organizations will then be dispatched to Japan.

The student body was not the only group that came out to support Japan. Faculty members, staff, and administrators also showed their sympathy and support, with professors holding events and donating money. Professor William C. Messner from the department of mechanical engineering announced that he would donate money for every student who got his or her hair spray-dyed at the campus event “Different Color Hair Day.”

Last Wednesday, mechanical engineering students tabled outside Wean and Doherty Hall with hair sprays in various colors — from hot pink to neon green to sparkling silver. Depending on the number of participants who got their hair colored and signed a sheet, Messner donated up to $2 toward tsunami relief on behalf of each participant. The event had many students standing in line to get their hair sprayed, showing the students’ unity in support for Japan. Students Krystina Teoh and Guillermo Gomez, senior and junior mechanical engineering majors, respectively tabled outside Doherty Hall and convinced many reluctant students to get their hair sprayed, assuring them that the colors were not permanent.

“Messner holds an event of this kind nearly every year, except that last time it was for Haiti,” Teoh said.

Carnegie Mellon’s dining halls have set up boxes asking students to donate their spare change for earthquake relief.

Joshua Yee, a first-year mechanical engineering major who got his hair sprayed during Messner’s event, was extremely pleased with Carnegie Mellon’s efforts to raise money for Japan. “A lot of student organizations are holding events and collecting money to support Japan,” he said. “I sincerely hope that these efforts continue.”