Rice students focus on Japan

On the heels of a successful benefit concert in which Rice University students raised more than $8,300 for the Japanese Red Cross Society, another group of students is hosting "Makeruna Japan: Rice is With You," a panel discussion and fundraiser for the ongoing crisis in Japan. The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday,April 13 in Keck Hall, Room 100, on the Rice University campus, 6100 Main St.

The discussion will focus on Japan's earthquakes, tsunami, nuclear reactors andcommunity needs. Panelists will include nuclear physicist Marjorie Corcoran, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice; seismologist Fenglin Niu, an associate professor of Earth science at Rice; Takahiko Watabe, acting consul-general of Japan at Houston; and Greg Clowe, president of the Japan-America Society of Houston. Rice President David Leebron will offer welcoming remarks.

Tickets are not required for "Makeruna Japan," but donations will be collected at the door and online at www.rice4japan.org for the Japanese Red Cross Society. Rice students will also sell their artwork during the event, with all proceeds going to the society.

"We thought it was important to educate ourselves and others about what is happening in Japan," said Tiffany Chen, an undergraduate student who organized the event. "That understanding is essential in remembering that these natural disasters will have a long-term effect on the people of Japan and our entire world."

Chen, who has family in Japan, said that she and other students were also motivated to do an educational event to help others understand and calm their fears about how the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan could affect the United States.

"We all want to know how this will affect us, but I hope people don't lose sight of those who are currently suffering in Japan," Chen said. "It's far from over for them. There continue to be earthquakes, including the 7.4 magnitude quake that happened earlier today. They need our help."

Initiated by students, the event is a collaborative effort among Rice students, faculty and staff, including the Center for the Study of Languages and the Office of International Students and Scholars.

It is just one of the relief efforts taking place at Rice University. Rice's Chao Center for Asian Studies will sponsor a booth to collect donations for the relief efforts at the Japan Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 9 and 10 at Hermann Park. 

Last week, students from the Shepherd School of Music hosted a benefit concert to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross Society, and the proceeds from a recent boba tea sale by the Japanese Association of Students also went to the society. Students also collected donations for the relief effort during Rice's Culture Fair on April 1.

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