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ND, SMC aid waves’ victims

Eileen Duffy | Wednesday, January 12, 2005

In the wake of the tsunami that pummeled South Asia and Africa Dec. 26, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students are anxious to help – and have plenty of opportunities on both campuses.The most immediate student response to the disaster took place Monday night, when Saint Mary’s refocused the theme of its annual late night breakfast – replacing the usual festive celebration with a more serious tone. Students brainstormed ways to help as they dined on a refugee’s typical breakfast: wheat tortillas, rice and lentils, apples and hot tea. The Office of Civil and Social Engagement, the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership and Campus Ministry refocused the event after receiving requests from students eager to help tsunami victims. Linda Timm, vice president for student affairs and a coordinator for the event, found it significant that the breakfast took place exactly when the refugees would be breakfasting themselves.”It was meant to very symbolically reflect solidarity with those who have lost so much,” said Timm. “It was also an opportunity for students to get together and ask, ‘What can we do?'”The breakfast took place on the first day of the inauguration week for Carol Mooney, the new Saint Mary’s president. Mooney, who was away at the time, sent remarks to be read at the breakfast. “Students wanted to have a response the first week,” said Sister Mari Anne Farina, another coordinator of the event who worked with refugees in Bangladesh following the 1988 cyclone that killed thousands.”This way,” she said, “we still launch the inauguration, but we do it in solidarity.”Notre Dame has also hastened to provide relief for the tsunami victims.Representatives from Student Government, International Student Services and Activities (ISSA), the Athletic Department and the Office of Student Affairs have worked together to organize a fundraising drive called the Tsunami Relief Drive.The coordinators of the Tsunami Relief Drive have chosen to donate to Catholic Relief Services’ Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Fund, a “extremely reputable” organization that “keeps with the mission of the university,” according to Sarah Bates, chairperson of the Residence Life Committee of the student Senate and one of the chief planners of the drive. The fund targets every country that was hit.”We recognize that a number of countries were affected, and that Notre Dame faculty and students know people in each of those countries,” said Bates. “We tried to pick an organization that would help every country.”The drive features a number of fundraising events throughout the next two weeks, including collections in LaFortune Student Center and at various athletic events.Students may donate within their residence halls through the Hall President. In addition, dorm masses on Jan. 16 will offer a collection for the tsunami victims.There will be a Mass held in the Basilica at 5:15 p.m. Thursday in honor of the dead, suffering and all those assisting in the region. The Basilica’s Sunday collections will also go to the victims through Catholic Relief Services.The Student Union Board has announced that donations will be accepted at the showing of the movie “Hero” at 7 p.m. Thursday in the LaFortune Ballroom, as well as at Legends during the 10 p.m. Saturday concert, “The Argument”. The Tsunami Relief Drive will conclude with a Benefit Buffet Dinner and Silent Auction sponsored by Student Government and ISSA. At the event, held in the Coleman-Morse lounge, students will be able to donate as they dine on a variety of Asian food.The Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore has begun asking its patrons if they would like to donate a dollar for the victims at the time of purchase. The program was coordinated by its corporate office, the Follett Corporation, and is sending proceeds to the Red Cross.Students have responded positively to the bookstore’s efforts.”I [donated a dollar],” said O’Neill freshman Jerell Rogers. “I personally think it’s a great way to help.”In addition to on-campus collections, the Center for Social Concerns has posted a list of U.S and international relief organizations accepting contributions.