President Machen urges support for Japan
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
As the death toll continues to rise from the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and new trouble arises daily with the damaged nuclear reactors, it’s easy as distant onlookers for us to feel overwhelmed and helpless.
The numbers are already staggering: An estimated 500,000 people are still living in shelters, having lost their homes when the earth trembled and the sea rushed in. Others were forced to flee because of radiation levels. Still others were even less fortunate: The number of dead has already topped 11,000.
It is important to remember, though, that the University of Florida has many ties to Japan. We offer classes in Tokyo and Osaka. We have 34 Japanese students seeking a degree on campus and another five enrolled in Optional Practical Training. In addition, 12 UF students and five UF faculty were in Japan when the disaster unfolded. Thankfully, all are safe and most are home. We also have 116 UF alumni living in Japan.
It’s natural, then, that our two countries are there for each other when the chips are down.
Japan needs our help, just as they offered us their assistance after Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina; for instance, the Japanese people contributed $30 million for our disaster relief efforts.
Now we can return the favor, as many of you already have done.
The local Hope for Japan campaign has collected more than $5,000 but has set an increased goal of $10,000 to help the disaster victims. Student Government and Hope for Japan are selling T-shirts for $10 each, with 100 percent of the profit going for disaster relief.
In addition, donations can be made at the Dean of Students Office, Room 202 in Peabody Hall, the Center for Student Activities and Involvement, Room 302 in Peabody Hall, or in Multicultural and Diversity Affairs in Room 300 in the Reitz Student Union.
While Japan has been hit with a crippling blow, we admire the spirit and tenacity of the Japanese people. It may be years before the country can fully recover, but our thoughts and dollars can help lessen the suffering.