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USFers Fundraise For Japan


USF students attend a vigil in honor of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims this spring.

A University of San Francisco professor, three students from Japan, and the Center for the Pacific Rim staged fundraising campaigns this spring, bringing in $7,500 for victims of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in  their home country in March.

Hwaji Shin, assistant professor of sociology who was raised in Japan, organized an interfaith vigil at USF shortly after the disaster, accepting donations for Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims. The $1,000 raised at the vigil was donated to the Japan Policy Research Institute’searthquake and tsunami relief fund. The institute is part of the Center for the Pacific Rim at USF. The funds will be distributed to various Japan-based agencies providing shelter, food, and clothing to victims.

“I am trying to promote the public awareness among people around the world and also to let people in Japan know that their struggles are not forgotten,” Shin said.

A few weeks after the vigil, MBA students Hajime Matsukata, Rie Shigeta, and Yoshi Fujiwara, all from Japan, led a separate effort to raise awareness and garner donations on campus, raising $2,000.

Shin, Matsukata, Shigeta, and Fujiwara, along with Dean of Strategic Relations for Academic Affairs Mike Duffy, presented a check from the students’ campaign to the Japanese consul general of San Francisco in April. The donation went to the Japanese Red Cross, which is assisting the tsunami and earthquake victims.

“Even when the media coverage ends, the suffering of the people continues” said Matsukata, whose brother lives in Sendai, a city on the coast of northern Japan that was affected by the disaster. Matsukata emphasized the continued need for fundraising to help the many disaster victims who remain displaced.

Another $4,500 was raised by the Center for the Pacific Rim at a special musical presentation by Chinese composer Bright Sheng at USF. The Center collected donations from the public and USF community members. All funds were donated to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund through the nonprofit Give2Asia.

Written by Laura Waldron »usfnews@usfca.edu