In the aftermath of the disaster that hit Japan, Miami University’s Japanese Culture and Language Club (JCLC), along with other organizations, has decided to be proactive. For the next few weeks, the JCLC will have donation sites set up around Miami’s campus and uptown Oxford. All donations will be sent to the Japanese Red Cross for relief efforts.
According to JCLC’s President, Mike Weber, there are donation sites on campus at the Farmer School of Business, Shriver Center and Bell Tower during the week, and at the Phi Delta Theta Gates on the weekends. There are also donation sites uptown at Kofenya and Bill’s Art Shop.
Tomoko Brown, a Japanese Oxford resident, is very involved in this project as well. She knew she wanted to help those in Japan, including many of her family members, but wasn’t sure how to go about it.
“I organize a Japanese picnic twice a year,” Brown said. “The faculty member (Dr. Noriko Reider) for JCLC comes to the picnic. I have more connection with the Japanese people in the community. I thought to get Reider involved so as to combine the efforts of campus and community.”
JCLC and Japanese community members are trying to involve other campus organizations in an effort to gain more attention and, therefore, more donations. Involved so far are the Campus Activities Council, Miami’s Anime Club and the Chinese American Cultural Association. These efforts also have the support of President Hodge, according to Brown.
When asked why they decided to send the money directly to the Japanese Red Cross, Weber and Brown stated that they picked the most reliable and direct source. They debated sending it to the American Red Cross, but ultimately chose the Japanese Red Cross.
The efforts aren’t just designated to Miami’s campus and uptown. Brown said she is trying to get approval from local schools to post flyers and put out donation cans in school offices.
The JCLC isn’t sure how much money they’re expecting to accumulate, but have said they’d like to reach $5,000 or more.
“We’re just trying to help in any way,” Weber said. “Every penny counts.”
The response so far has been better than expected. Having just started collecting money last Friday, March 18, the organization has already raised a considerable amount of money.
The club members and community members have been pleasantly surprised with the generosity of people on campus and off.
“People are fairly willing to give,” Weber said. “Once they heard about it, they were more than happy. It’s been really wonderful to see.”
Brown was especially touched by one girl, while collecting donations March 21 at FSB. According to Brown, a girl came up to the table and emptied her wallet. She didn’t have much cash, but she gave all that she had.
“People in the Oxford community are very generous, very compassionate,” Brown said. “They’re concerned about my family.”
That being said, not everyone has been so nice. Brown said that on Friday, March 18, a male student gave a donation. However, before leaving he said, “I’m going to give you this money, but people in Japan wouldn’t do this if something happened to my family here (in America).” Brown said she found the student’s statement rude and hurtful.
“There are some good things and bad things,” Brown said. “Some people are supportive and some aren’t, but this is very close to my heart. You can’t just sit and watch anymore. I don’t think everyone understands that.”
There will be donation tables set up around campus and uptown for the next few weeks, into mid April.
“We are trying to do our best to help those in Japan,” Weber said. “We appreciate any help you are willing to give us.”