As international aid continues to flood into the tsunami-stricken Southeast Asian basin, the UCSB American Red Cross Club (ARCC) will contribute to the relief effort with today’s tsunami relief fund meeting.
The meeting, which will take place tonight at 7 in the MultiCultural Center Theater, will offer information to students about the disaster and provide them with a forum for brainstorming fundraisers, said Christine Lai, fourth-year political science major and ARCC representative.
Lai said today’s event will build on ideas discussed by the tsunami relief forum that was hosted by the Asian Resource Center, which 30-40 people attended Sunday. A similar turnout is expected for today’s meeting, said Lai, and she hopes interested individuals and student clubs will organize a long- and short-term plan for aiding victims of the tsunami.
“It’s an informational meeting about the tsunami situation and a place where all students can get together and raise money and awareness,” Lai said. “We’re going to be directing students to what area they want to volunteer in and hooking them up with different organizations.”
Lai said the ARCC planned to begin fundraising efforts this week based on suggestions provided by students at Sunday’s meeting.
“We’ll have a box you can sign out and pass around your classroom so people can make contributions,” she said. “We’ll also be tabling at the dining commons.”
The meeting, Lai said, will also focus on long-term projects.
“We want to make sure students know it’s not an issue for one quarter or one year, but continuous,” Lai said. “It’ll take at least five to 10 years [for recovery].”
Jeff Liang, a fourth-year Asian American studies major and member of the Student Progressive Asian American Movement (SPAAM) attended Sunday’s meeting and said there were a variety of suggestions, ranging from general fund-raising ideas to politically oriented informational meetings.
“The main idea is to organize committees to do community events,” Liang said. “One of the ideas was to pull all our resources together and put on a community culture event [as a fundraiser] and showcase cultural dances and recite poetry. We could also have workshops about the political implications of the tsunami, because a lot of money going to the countries has strings attached, and we want to keep the governments accountable … There was also an idea for selling white ribbons to raise money at any event.”
Liang said he thinks many people attended the meeting because of personal connections to the disaster.
“This was something that especially hit the Asian community directly because a lot of us have family that were affected,” Liang said. “A lot of people were interested and really wanted to help, and we wanted a forum where people can put their ideas into action.”