UCLA students on their way to finals donated $1,500 to relief efforts in Japan.
The Nikkei Student Union, a Japanese American student group, quickly mobilized a donation drive that began Monday on Bruin Walk, said Kevin Machino, the club’s president. The club will continue to collect money during finals week and the first two weeks of spring quarter.
All donations will go directly to the American Red Cross, said Machino, a fourth-year biochemistry student. The Red Cross provides food, shelter and medical help to disaster victims.
NSU is also taking orders for wristbands designed by Lady Gaga that say, “We pray for Japan,” said Hiromi Aoyama, the club’s treasurer and a third-year communications studies student. The wristbands cost $6, and proceeds will go to the Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.
The club has already received 100 pre-orders for 130-140 wristbands, said Satoshi Ikeda, a fourth-year psychobiology student who is in charge of the fund-raiser.
Ikeda attributed the positive response to an overall sympathy toward the situation in Japan.
Students on Monday dropped $1, $5 and even $10 bills into the club’s collection jars on Bruin Walk.
“People have been very supportive,” said Christina Yu, a second-year business economics student and NSU member.
Aoyama said NSU was surprised at the sheer number of donations, especially since it is finals week.
She did not have an exact count of the amount of money raised yet, but by the end of Monday both of the two-gallon-size containers were half full.
One of the reasons the organization responded so quickly is that many students in NSU have family and friends in Japan who were affected by the quake and tsunami, Machino said.
“I felt it was something I should do,” Ikeda said of his fundraising involvement, adding that he has family in southern Japan. “If I were in their shoes, I would want someone to do this for me.”
With reports from Samantha Masunaga, Bruin senior staff.