UP ON CAMPUS
Returning from the holiday break, members of the campus community quickly began to organize responses to the South Asian tsunami disaster, including several fund-raising projects to generate monetary donations for relief organizations, which aid officials said is the most effective way to help at this time.
Last week Chancellor Henry T. Yang, after meeting with representatives of various campus units, created a Campus Tsunami Response Task Force. Members, not all of whom were appointed as 93106 went to press, will include students, staff, and faculty.
Among other things, the group will serve as a clearinghouse for the myriad fund-raising relief efforts emerging on the campus.
In addition, the task force will develop a formal link between the campus and Direct Relief International, the Goleta-based relief agency that is highly regarded around the world. Funds raised by campus groups will be channeled to Direct Relief as well as the American Red Cross and other agencies. The United Way of Santa Barbara County has links to both of those agencies.
“The international disaster is of such a magnitude that it almost defies our imagination,” said Chancellor Yang. “While we might feel powerless in response to this awful tragedy, there are things that we all can do to help, and I am proud that members of our campus community already have begun organizing such efforts. We encourage, applaud, and support all these efforts. I know that we all will find ways to respond to this humanitarian crisis.”
Among the many campus organizations involved in planning fund-raising activities to benefit the tsunami victims are the Associated Students, its Community Affairs Board; the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union; United Fraternity/Sorority Caucus and other Greek student organizations; the India Association; and the International Students Association.
A student-organized candlelight vigil to honor the memory of those who perished in the earthquake and tsunami was scheduled for last night, Jan. 9, at Storke Plaza.
The UCSB Education Abroad Program as well as the UC EAP reported last week that all participants in their programs in the affected region had been accounted for.
The Office of International Students and Scholars reported that UCSB currently enrolls a total of 125 students from the tsunami-affected countries, although 102 of those are from India, many from areas outside the affected zones. The campus also enrolls 7 students each from Indonesia and Malaysia; 6 from Sri Lanka; and 3 from Thailand. The office had successfully contacted and received responses from all but one of those students as of late last week.
The Campus Tsunami Response Task Force will have
a page on the UCSB Web site this week with information on campus
fund-raising and other events to benefit the disaster victims. Information
for inclusion on that site can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
The group also is being asked to look into developing comprehensive campus tsunami and earthquake education and evacuation plans. While such emergency plans already exist, linking them to an aggressive education effort for the campus and community is seen as an important priority.
Chancellor Yang said that the task force would bring together campus experts on earthquakes, tsunamis, and the impact of such disasters on local people and their cultures. Such expertise, he said, will help shape possible long-term responses to this tragedy.