Thursday, March 24, 2011

UIS community helping with relief efforts in Japan

Students, faculty and staff at the University of Illinois Springfield are helping to raise money for relief efforts in Japan through the Sister City Association of Springfield’s Ashikaga Relief Fund.

“This is just something very small we’re trying to do to show our support for them,” said Jonathan GoldbergBelle, director of the UIS Office of International Programs.

The office has been collecting cash donations outside of the Public Affairs Center Food Emporium during lunch. They’re also working to create 1,000 origami cranes to send to the people of Ashikaga.

“The crane is one of the symbols of long life and good luck, and a project of making 1,000 is something that’s seen as 1,000 acts of good will,” said GoldbergBelle.

Ashikaga, Japan has been a Sister City to Springfield for more than two decades. UIS has had an academic exchange and cooperation agreement with the Ashikaga Institute of Technology since 2000. The agreement allows UIS students to study in Japan and students from that country to study in Springfield.

“It’s part of helping the community, because we are part of the Springfield community and it’s really important to help the community,” said Abena Afreh, a junior Clinical Laboratory Science major.

Freshman biology major Anna Dang got involved with the project on its first day. She helped create cranes and brought in several more she created at home. For her, the effort is a way to give back.

“I’m kind of sad and I don’t know what to do here,” said Dang. “You might as well find donations and help them.”

Part of the money raised will also go to fund UIS programs related to the Ashikaga Institute of Technology.

For more information on how you can make a donation, contact the International Programs Office at 217/206-8319. Students, faculty and staff are also encouraged to monitor Campus Announcements for updates on the effort.

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