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Students organize fundraiser for 'quake victims

By Hallie Jordan     4/14/11 7:00pm

Inspired by Duncan College's effort to raise money for Haiti last year, sophomore Tiffany Chen decided to create an event held Wednesday night to help raise awareness about the disaster in Japan. She raised $734.

"I wanted to help educate people about Japan," Chen said. "Lots of people are fundraising, and I think an understanding of what is going on is also important."

Chen and Melody Tan, Brown College freshman, organized the talk together, calling it Makeruna Japan. Four panelists spoke about different effects of the earthquake following a Japanese drumming performance by a group called Kaminari Taiko.

First, President David Leebron opened with a speech explaining the ties Rice has with Japan and the importance of student undertakings.

"We are proud of our students' intelligence, proud of their initiatives but most proud of our students when those two things combine into a third attribute — compassion," Leebron said.

Rice's history with Japan includes Rice students studying there, Japanese students at Rice and many research projects, Leebron said.

"It is important for our students to understand that humanity is one thing," Leebron said. "Whenever something happens around the world and people are coping with disaster that we really have a duty of compassion and empathy, and if there is something to be done, we try to to do something about it."

Though Chen wishes more students would have been able to attend, she was happy with the event overall.

"I think it it was good how many people were eager to participate and collaborate," Chen said. "I feel really gratified for their support."

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