It has been over a month since the tsunami disaster in Asia, and, as is the media tendency with any major event, news coverage has dwindled, but the devastation there is not over. According to the U.S. Geological Survey site, 220,272 people were killed by this display of nature?s wrath, and an additional 22,352 are still listed as missing. Add on to this millions more that have been displaced, losing their homes, possessions, and in many cases and perhaps most importantly, families.Although most members of the WCU community probably cannot imagine such devastation, the campus has experienced an outpouring of generosity in donations to help the victims.
Student Services, Inc. has set up a fund that students can use to make donations directly to the Red Cross, and student organizations are doing their part independently as well.
One organization that has taken initiative to make a difference is the Student Government Association. SGA President Mary Pat Spadaford, who “wanted to do something about what was taking place on the other side of the world,” presented her idea to the SGA by making a pull at their emotions. In a meeting, she asked everyone to make a list of the most important things in their lives. “Then I asked them to imagine how life would be without the things on their list,” she said. “I mentioned that this was what people were experiencing who were located where the tsunami hit land. I just wanted to know that at least Icould say that instead of sitting around wishing I could do something I wanted to take action.”
Take action she did. SGA took donations that would be sent directly to the Red Cross. Members took shifts at a table set up in Sykes for six days over a two-week period. In total, $756.53 was donated by generous West Chester students and faculty. In addition to this fund is the open account set up in the Student Services office and the personal donations many have made to countless community organizations that are making an effort to help.
Another group that decided to fundraise for the cause was The Quad. Editorial members collected donations in Sykes over a two day period and gave students and staff a chance to write a Valentine?s Day message, printed in this issue of the paper.
Editor in Chief, Kelli Snyder said, “The Quad was proud to participate in this worthwhile cause. By making a donation and writing a Valentine that would appear in The Quad, peoplecould show their love, not only to their loved ones, but to those in need. “
While these donations may not seem like much in contrast with the multi-million dollars that some corporations are able to donate, when considering all of the long-term rebuilding that will be need to be done throughout the region, every amount helps. Many families lost not only their homes, but also things like fishing boats that helped them earn a living. The places where they worked were destroyed, and these very places were the things that produced what they needed to live.
The people affected have a long road of rebuilding ahead of them, and because of the generosity from many parts of the world, they will be able to. The spirit of giving lives at West Chester University and we have been able to do our part to offer assistance. Remember, though, that aid will be needed for a long time, and just because it may no longer be on the news every night, help is still needed. Donations can still be made at the SSI Office in Sykes, and, as always, through www.redcross.org.