CSUN group raising funds for victims of the Japan earthquake

Juana Esquivel

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Moeko Yamazaki, 22, theater major, shows off her message to people affected by the Japan earthquake and tsunami that occured March 11. Photo Credit: Krista Daly / Senior Reporter

Relief efforts are underway for the victims of Friday’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan through CSUN’s Japanese Student Association (JSA).

JSA members stood along Matador Walk in front of the Oviatt Library Wednesday afternoon with a brown shoe box and a blackboard with markers as they took donations and wrote messages for the earthquake victims and handed out red and white ribbons.

“All of us have family back home, like my mom,” said Jenny Blagg, 20, French language major and JSA activities chair, who was born and raised in Japan. “I am an international student. I’m from Japan. My mom is home and she’s trapped because of the nuclear threats. You can’t do anything about it, and this is the best thing we can do. We’re just trying to donate money to the Red Cross.”

Miri Ichikawa, president of CSUN JSA, said some people placed a 20 dollar bill inside the box while others donated their spare change.

She added that the money they raise will be donated through the American Red Cross to the earthquake victims.

Blagg said that while JSA wanted money, their main goal was to raise awareness which was the purpose of distributing the ribbons and writing messages on the blackboard.

“It’s basically, we’re asking people to write the message on the board and then we take a picture of it and then upload the picture on Facebook and tag those people so those people who are on the picture could spread the word and stuff and more people can come and take a picture,” Ichikawa said.

While the donation drive was taking place, Miku Miyatake, 21, mechanical engineering major and JSA member went to two different Japanese classes where he asked students to write their messages to Japan on the chalk and white boards.

Yuhki Goto, 19, communications major, wrote “Hang in there, Japan,” in Japanese.

Goto said she does not have relatives in Japan, but has been there a few times, and is Japanese.

“I’ve donated money but I wish there was something more I can do because I can always donate money, but I can’t really fly over there or help out or anything,” she said.

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, located on the corner of Reseda Boulevard and Devonshire Street is hosting a frozen yogurt fundraiser for CSUN JSA. It is scheduled for March 21 at 10 a.m.

The week-long fundraiser is scheduled to last through Monday, March 28 at 11 p.m. in which 20 percent of a yogurt purchase will go to CSUN JSA’s Japanese Relief Fund, Blagg said.

JSA also created a Facebook event page called “Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief @ CSUN,” through which donations to the Red Cross.

The Facebook event page also provides a Ustream link for families of the victims to view streaming footage from Japan.

Blagg said JSA will likely go back to Matador Walk next week at the same time, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to continue to accept funds and awareness of Japan’s plight.