USF Students Raise Money For Japan Relief

Fundraisers are being held to raise month for shelter, food and clothing for those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami.



By Daylina Miller

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (April 14, 2011) – University of South Florida students, student organizations and others have stepped up to raise money to help some of the thousands of people in Japan who remain homeless, displaced and hungry following the recent earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear plant catastrophe.


Shortly after the March 11 disaster, USF alumn Francis Maraj, who graduated last May with a degree in International Studies, started a website called Save Japan Now with a student group that includes some Japanese exchange students studying at USF.

They’re selling t-shirts that say “I Love Japan,” for $13.50 (plus shipping & handling) for a white shirt and $15 for a black one. T-shirts can still be ordered and local pick-up is available for USF students and faculty.

The Japanese Club, along with several other USF student organizations and sponsors, hosted a “Hope for Japan” charity dinner and candlelit vigil on April 8. Tickets were a minimum donation of $5; more than $500 was raised in total.


One of the mission's of the Japanese Club is to participate in volunteer services and to promote the Japanese community around USF and Tampa,” said Carlos Hernandez, the club’s founder and vice president. “We felt that it was our duty to help tsunami and earthquake relief victims and reached out to several organizations around the University of South Florida to help us in our effort.”


That same day, students in Barbara Pinter's Academic English Level 4+ Advanced Business Topics Elective Class were involved in their final project for social entrepreneurship for the semester.  They held a fundraiser for Japan at three different locations around campus .The students provided a fun service or gift in exchange for donations that were made to the Japanese Red Cross.

The Cooper Hall location offered massages, The FAO location offered paper cranes and henna tattoos in Japanese or Arabic and the Marshall Student Center (MSC) station wrote your name in five different languages- English, Thai, Chinese, Russian and Arabic.

In just two hours, they raised $770.60 and with a match from INTO USF, a total of $1,000 will be sent for Japan relief.

“It was a truly amazing effort by the students under Barbara Pinter's guidance, and the INTO USF center staff and teachers also helped out wherever possible,” said Sarah Kay, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for INTO.  “To see some of the students come out of their shells (from shyness) and be able to practice their English and approach people for donations - such a great experience.”


The students documented their fundraising on video.


More than a month later, the students haven’t stopped raising money for Japan. Save Japan Now is still selling t-shirts and on Monday, April 18, USF students Enaam Alnaggar and Kimberly Karalius will be hosting an event called “Tomodachi! USF Writers Unite For Japan!” as a reminder that the country still needs help.


“I think it’s really important that people come out because it has been about a month since the disaster and there are still a lot of difficulties people are facing over there,” said Alnaggar, who is pursuing her MFA in creative writing. “It has been a month and people are starting to forget so this is a reminder that people still need help there.”


Tomodachi! USF Writers Unite For Japan!” will be held Monday, April 18 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Marshall Student Center Room 2709. There will be several raffles for signed books and merchandise and there will also be t-shirts and pins for sale that are specific to the event. The proceeds from the reading will go to Second Harvest Japan.


The earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11, a 9.0 trembler that shook the east coast of Japan. Thousands of people died. Officials continue to try and stabilize Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is leaking radiation.


More recently, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Japan April 7, causing blackouts in some areas that still had electricity.


Daylina Miller can be reached at 813-500-8754.