Students Organize For Tsunami Relief Fund

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Red plastic wrist bands have become a must-have for Glendale College students who wish to contribute to fund-raising efforts for last winter’s tsunami in Phuket, Thailand.

The Tsunami Relief Fund was initiated by GCC’s President John Davitt via an e-mail to faculty and staff during the winter intersession. By Jan. 28, faculty and staff had successfully raised more than $5,000 in monetary donations, according to Saodat Aziskhanova, from the GCC Foundation.

Last year, yellow wristbands sold by the millions by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. They have proven to be a success in an effort to raise funds for programs helping those who are diagnosed with cancer. Study Abroad Coordinator Darren Leaver and Associated Student member Elsa Urquilla had the idea of possibly selling red wristbands to students, the red representing unity in an effort to give relief the tsunami victims.

The first batch of the 250 tsunami relief wristbands bought online for 35 cents a piece was sold out and generated over $300 in donations. The last batch of 750 bracelets is currently being sold by ASGCC members, the study abroad office and various student clubs on campus.

Leaver said that with the recent temblor of an 8.7 magnitude that struck the northern coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island, more people are dying from crumbling buildings. “This proves this region continues to need help.”

The red wristbands work like the “I voted pins,” except that the wristbands represent support for the relief. “I had one two days ago and someone asked what it was all about,” Leaver said. It works, the wristbands attract attention and it’s a good way to get the word out there.”

Urquilla said that since the majority of students and the AS were on vacation at the time the fundraising efforts began, the deadline was extended. “We wanted to include the students in the fundraising project so the deadline for the relief fund was extended to April 26, which would be the day that will mark the four-month anniversary of the disaster.”

In addition to selling the wrist bands, Urquilla is also acting as the immediate collector hub for students’ spare change during student activities. Donation cans are located at high-traffic areas such as the book store, associated student center and the study abroad office in the main building.

Through the GCC foundation, checks for the money raised will be made out to two internationally recognized non-profit organizations: Doctors Without Borders and AmeriCares. Both foundations are committed to using the contributions to improve the lives of those affected by the natural disaster by rebuilding lives and reconstructing communities.

“We are trying to collect as much money as possible by April 22.” said Alen Andriassian adviser to Associated students. “The [AS] committee’s goal is to raise $1,500. A big bulk of the money will come from the basketball game of faculty and staff versus students.”

The basketball game is scheduled for April 22 at 5 p.m. in the gym. The cost of entrance will be $3 a ticket and can be purchased in advanced at the student center. Andriassian encourages every student to come, “It will be a big event. We are going to have food, live DJ, and cheerleaders from Glendale high will be there cheering the teams. This is a good opportunity to bring the community together for a great cause.”

“My gut feeling is that our students do care about what’s going on to the rest of the world,” said Leaver. “And this is a great way of showing that our students not only sympathize for people but also are doing a small thing that is significant.

“If you multiply the amount of campuses that there are in this country it can generate an enormous amount of money.”