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ND contributes $173,000 to tsunami relief

Eileen Duffy | Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Whether by bidding on a Sri Lankan craft, buying a cookie or dropping some money into a collection box, many Notre Dame students and faculty have responded to the tsunami relief efforts – a $173,000 response, to be exact.In the past two weeks, the Notre Dame community has acted on its Catholic creed of charity by donating money on behalf of those affected in the Dec. 26 disaster, especially keeping in mind the 105 currently enrolled students and numerous alumni from the affected countries, University President Father Edward Malloy said in a statement. “Calamities such as the tsunami remind us not only of our kinship with those who suffer, but also of our vocation to see and serve Christ in them and in each other,” Malloy said. “This effort is a communal attempt to remember those things.”Besides collections taken up at dorm Masses and in the Basilica, the $173,000 figure includes donations from Notre Dame student government, Campus Ministry, the Center for Social Concerns and the Office of International Student Services and Activities. It also includes funds from other University charitable accounts that will be directed to this need, University spokesman Matt Storin said.The largest campus effort was the Tsunami Relief Drive, which a variety of campus groups sponsored. The drive included collections in LaFortune, at athletic events and in the dorms. It concluded with a benefit buffet dinner of Asian food and silent auction of handcrafted goods from the Asian and African regions.Donny Hanjaya-Putra, a Fisher Hall sophomore from Indonesia who was at Notre Dame when the tsunami hit, was a chief planner for the event. “It’s so amazing to watch and experience how many people on this campus really care – enough to come together in this event of solidarity,” he said. Hanjaya-Putra said he was motivated to help after enduring the painful experience of watching the tsunami from afar.”At first, I thought it was a minor disaster,” he said. “Then every time I turned on the TV, the [number of victims] was climbing every minute.”Lisa Lu, a Breen-Phillips sophomore who was born in China but now lives in Hawaii, donated some silk dresses to the silent auction, which included everything from chopsticks to wind chimes to jewelry. “It’s a call for global unity in a time of disaster,” Lu said. “The U.S. is supposed to be an altruistic nation – that motivated me.”Sophomore Covington Doan came to the event for symbolic reasons.”It’s a good way of showing your friends affected by the tsunami,” he said, “that you and the rest of the campus care.”In addition to the large dinner, smaller events took place all over campus, including a bake sale in Lewis Hall. Sophomore Valerie Atria purchased some baked goods and offered her thoughts on the relief efforts.”Nothing we can do can really take away what the trauma of what happened to all those people,” she said. “However, it is important to do something, no matter how trivial, to help them start rebuilding their lives.”