Nearly 40 student representatives from various campus organizations met Sunday morning in the MultiCultural Center to plan relief fundraisers for victims of the recent tsunami in South and Southeast Asia, later holding a candlelight vigil for those who died in the disaster.
The representatives talked about the amount of devastation in the area and looked for ways the UCSB community could contribute to the relief effort. After the discussion, many representatives explained different strategies they were using to raise funds for tsunami victims. Jill O’Neill, a member of the American Red Cross, said that the organization and the International Federation of the Red has sent 12 representatives to South Asia and South East Asia. The American Red Cross is also sending financial aid.
“We are committed to raising $400 million,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill said if people choose to send food, they should donate foods that are common in the region such as rice, lentils or canned fish. She said, however, it would be better to donate money rather than food or clothes. Sending money would make it easier for their Red Cross and International Response Fund partners to appropriate resources to where it is most needed.
“Have a garage sale instead and donate the money,” O’Neill said.
Many on-campus student organizations are following O’Neill’s advice and planning events to raise money to send to relief and aid organizations.
Ameet Shukla, member of the Indian Undergraduate Student Body (INDUS) and a third-year film studies major, said INDUS and other Indian culture organizations on campus are working with similar groups from campuses such as UC Irvine, Stanford University and the University of Southern California to provide aid to tsunami victims. INDUS will be selling bracelets, Shukla said.
“They’ll be sold for $3 each [with all proceeds donated to] the tsunami victims,” Shukla said.
Associated Students President Cervin Morris said A.S. will be placing donation boxes in front of the UCen and in the Arbor starting today.
“We’re hoping every student gives at least $1,” Morris said.
Morris said A.S. and Phi Sigma Kappa are planning to host a benefit poker tournament. Tournament entrance fees will be donated to relief funds, he said.
Cambodian Student Union President Chanta Peak said her club will sell egg rolls to raise money for victims.
“We’re going to sell them next week at two for a dollar,” Peak said.
Duy Nguyen, the Vietnamese Student Union culture chair and a fourth-year Asian American studies major, said the organization will donate money from its All You Can Eat Pho Night event being held tonight in the MultiCultural Center. Nguyen said a donation box will also be set up at the group’s winter formal on March 5. Both events are free and open to all students.
UCSB campus organizer Stephanie Mancini said the university and CalPIRG are working with UCSB Dining Services to create a donation system. Through this, CalPIRG hopes to give students the option to use money they would have spent on a meal in the dining commons and instead send it to relief fund efforts in lieu of buying the meal.
Following the meeting, some attendees later gathered in front of Lotte Lehman Concert Hall around 7:30 p.m. Sunday to hold a candlelight vigil – in honor of the tsunami victims – where Chancellor Henry Yang briefly spoke.
Another relief effort forum will be held tonight at 7 in the MultiCultural Center.