University begins relief fund to assist Japan with recent natural disasters

Seton Hall has started a relief fund for Japan following a disastrous earthquake and tsunami, which according to multiple news sources, has caused an unconfirmed amount of deaths and countless amounts of damage in the nation.

The Office of the President sent out a broadcast e-mail Wednesday morning, stating donations for the Seton Hall University Relief Fund will be accepted for the next two weeks.

According to the e-mail, Campus Ministry and Student Affairs are sponsoring the collection.

Michelle Peterson, director of the Division of Volunteer Efforts, said the money collected will be donated to the Catholic Relief Services for their efforts in Japan.

“Every tragedy around the world has impact on us as individuals and as a community. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan call us to respond in the way we would hope others to help us in our greatest time of need,” Peterson said.

In previous years the University has contributed in different ways to help with the disasters in New Orleans and Haiti, Peterson said.

“We now hope to do what we can to open our hearts for Japan through prayer and donation,” she said.

Peterson also said all students and clubs are welcome to create fundraising programs to help the people of Japan. She said interested students could contact her or Rosario Reyes, associate dean of Community Development Activities for Student Affairs.

Mary Kirk Rawn, associate provost, said the University has several international students from Japan studying at Seton Hall. Rawn said she reached out to them on Mar. 11, and they had all spoken with their families in Japan since the earthquake on Friday.

Rawn added that while Seton Hall had a student studying at Sophia University in Japan, her semester had already ended. The student had returned from Japan at the time of the earthquake and tsunami.

The e-mail said many members of the Seton Hall community have relatives and friends in Japan.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who need immediate relief,” the e-mail said.

The e-mail also referenced its past willingness to help others in need.

“As we have done in similar past circumstances, our University family has united in an effort to send much-needed assistance to our brothers and sisters in Japan,” the e-mail said.

Shigeru Osuka, an associate professor of Asian Studies, narrowly escaped the earthquake, which mostly affected northern Japan, according to an article on CBS News online.

According to the article, Osuka was at a conference in Tokyo and heard about the 8.9 magnitude quake from the pilot on his flight home to the United States.

He told CBS news that his family was safe, and though he was conflicted, he felt his duty right now was to teach his students at Seton Hall.

The e-mail asks that those who decide to donate make checks payable to the Seton Hall University Relief Fund.

The contributions can be delivered or sent to the Campus Ministry office, which is located on the first floor of Boland Hall.

News Editor Jessica Sutcliffe contributed to this report. She can be reached at

Caitlin Carroll can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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