CSU, Chico News

Community Members Reach Out to Japanese People Following Tragedy

Date: 03-18-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

Efforts to aid people in Japan and Japanese students in Chico are taking shape at California State University, Chico and in the Chico community.

The earthquake and tsunami devastation has prompted campus community members and residents to look for fundraising opportunities and other ways to support local Japanese students as well as aid relief efforts overseas.

"The terrible events in Japan have deeply saddened us,” said CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg. “Yet, as was the case so recently in Haiti, this tragic situation has moved us to reach out and help our friends. Please know that we at Chico State and in the Chico community want to help you in your time of need. We will also reach out with a similar message to our students from Japan who are studying now at Chico State. We are honored to have you at our university, and we are here to help you through raising funds and showing support as you cope with the heartbreaking developments in your home country."

Area clubs and organizations have created a Japan Disaster Relief Fund at Tri-Counties Bank. Groups involved include the Chico Japan Friendship Club; the Pleasant Valley High School, Butte College and CSU, Chico Japanese programs; CSU, Chico student organizations Japanese Fusion and the Anime Club; and the International Club and Miyabi dance club from Butte College.

Proceeds from the fund will go toward American Red Cross’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief effort. More information can be found at http://www.chicojapan.org or by e-mailing cjfriendshipclub@gmail.com. The group has a goal of raising $10,000 by May 1.

Professor Kimihiko Nomura, CSU, Chico Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, is currently gathering a list of resources that can aid Japanese students at CSU, Chico and reach out to Japanese students who graduated from CSU, Chico. “We want to let them know that their alma mater is here for them and their families, and that we are all Chico family,” he said.

Currently, CSU, Chico has 50 Japanese students enrolled. Katherine Punteney, coordinator of international student services and campus internationalization, said none of the students report being from areas directly affected by the tsunami.

In addition, the University’s American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) had nine Japanese students registered for the most recent spring session, which ended last week. William Dantona, director of ALCI, said two students have left for Japan, and the remaining students will continue their studies.

CSU, Chico had 10 students registered to study abroad in Japan this spring. Six were in Japan at the time of the disaster, and are headed home following CSU Chancellor Charles Reed’s order Tuesday to close all CSU programs in Japan to ensure students’ safety.

Events planned to support Japan and raise funds include Red and White Day on March 24, a global event in honor those lost in the tragedy by asking people to wear red and white; Origami Craft Event on March 24, sponsored by Japanese Fusion, to fold cranes and later use them in a fundraising effort; Japanese Movie Night on March 25; and a rummage sale of Japanese goods and crafts at the Butte County Library Chico Branch on April 2. Times and locations for these and other events will be posted at http://www.chicojapan.org.