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ECU community joins Tsunami relief efforts

GREENVILLE, NC   (Jan. 11, 2005)   —   When the catastrophic tsunami occurred in Southeast Asia Dec. 26, East Carolina University was closed for the holidays. Classes did not start for another two weeks and faculty and staff members were not due to return until later that week.

Despite the dormant campus, about a dozen efforts to contribute to the relief efforts of tsunami victims surfaced.

From faculty who traveled to the disaster zone to monetary collections, the following is a list of university-based efforts. In addition, many university employees have contributed funds to various relief efforts in the community separate from the university through organizations such as churches and the American Red Cross.

Nursing student Michael Raper started a relief fund for victims of the tsunami and has collected more than $900 by passing a bucket in classes. He has a goal of raising $50,000 by the end of the semester. He has established a tax identification number for the fund, ECU Nursing Students Tsunami Relief.

The Athletics Department is working with the Student Government Association to collect funds at the remaining home basketball games in January. This will be promoted with announcements at the games.

Dr. Thomas Kerkering, chief of infectious disease at the Brody School of Medicine is currently in Indonesia as a volunteer with the Christian Children's Fund to assess the situation and get immediate needs met such as safe drinking water.

He is expected to be in Indonesia until early February. The Office of the Ombudsman prepared a solicitation document in consultation with the University Attorney and Internal auditor in order to help direct students on how to efficiently and legally collect donations.

This also helps thwart fraud by providing students with information on legitimate charity opportunities. Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences, Dr. Michael Lewis was supplied with the names of several physician faculty volunteers who are willing to go as individuals or as a team to one of the disaster areas. This is in response to a request from President Broad and coordinated from the Chancellor's Office. The ITCS department is collecting money from employees during the month of January to be forwarded to the American Red Cross. Beta Theta Pi fraternity has been collecting donations on-campus for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. A table has been set out with pictures of the disaster, and a description of the areas affected.

Resident advisors in Slay and Umstead halls are collecting money from residents to be donated to the relief fund. The Campus Living Service Advisory Board is organizing a Residence Hall challenge for all the halls on ECU's campus. The challenge is to determine which hall can contribute the most. The East Carolina Construction Association will receive and match donations from its members at the first meeting of Spring 2005 Semester. The funds will be delivered to either UNICEF or the Red Cross for their use. Darin N. Sujjavanich, a graduate student in ECU Brody School of Medicine's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, is spearheading an effort to send donations from pharmaceutical companies to survivors of the tsunami.

Survivors are still in great danger due to poor sanitation and lack of supplies and are susceptible to such maladies as malaria, cholera and other water-borne diseases. Sujjavanich will send money to AmeriCares, which uses its donations to ship donations from pharmaceutical companies to disaster areas.


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481