College Coffee focuses on disaster in Japan

The Elon campus community is planning efforts to provide support from those suffering the effects of a massive earthquake and tsunami. The efforts were launched at the March 15 College Coffee, where students from Japan spoke about the disaster in their homeland.

Elon students (l-r) Reiko Okada, Junko Aoyama and Hiroshi Wada joined Associate Chaplain Phil Smith in speaking at the March 15 College Coffee.

A special Facebook page has been set up to coordinate Elon’s relief efforts at Japan.

> Follow this link to access the Facebook page.

The campus heard from three students from Japan at a special College Coffee observance. Associate Chaplain Phil Smith spoke about the tragedies and then called for a moment of silence in memory of the victims and in support of those suffering the loss of loved ones or other hardships.

Junior Hiroshi Wada from Osaka said his hometown has a shortage of electricity and his grandmother lives in an area of southern Japan that is being affected by the eruption of a volcano.

“I’m really worried,” Wada said. “I’m thinking, ‘What can I do … my power is very tiny.'”

Sophomore Junko Aoyama is from Tokyo and worries about her family there. “With the radiation and the aftershocks, it still scares me almost 24/7. I can’t concentrate on my schoolwork or just living in general,” Aoyama said. “I feel so uncomfortable being safe here while everyone at home is just trying to live.”

Senior Reiko Okada agreed that she feels guilty being safe at Elon when her country is in such a serious situation. Much of her family lives in northern Japan and is dealing with the disaster.
“My dad is in the self-defense army – he’s a doctor and he’s in Sendai right now treating patients,” Okada said.

The three students asked members of the community to come together to share ideas about how Elon can provide relief for Japan.

Meantime, three Elon students studying at Kansai Gaidai University in southern Japan near Osaka are safe. They are being advised by university officials there to conserve electricity and cancel any trips to eastern Japan, including Tokyo.