College students across the country are following in the footsteps of people around the world in humanitarian efforts to aid the victims of the catastrophic tsunamis in Southeast Asia and East Africa.
The tsunami, which hit the region on Dec. 26, 2004 following an earthquake in the Indian Ocean, took the lives of more than 160,000 and left even more people injured and homeless.
“All I could do was watch in disbelief at the images that I saw in the news,” said Precious Hall, a sophomore physical therapy major at Howard University. "The power of Mother Nature is unbelievable and frightening. I don’t think anybody could watch those images and not feel compassion or the need to help those people.”
Like Hall, many students are finding ways to help the tsunami victims, including students at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
“Our goal is to raise $3,000 since there are 3,000 students enrolled at our school. The Morehouse student body is concerned about and wants to affect the world,” said Bakari Sellers, a senior African American Studies major and president of the student government association at Morehouse.
Morehouse will be holding a dating event to raise money for the tsunami victims, according to Sellers.
Students on the campus of Howard University have also joined in with the tsunami relief efforts after receiving a call to action from the school’s division of student affairs.
“There was a strong and immediate response from different groups and organizations on campus,” said Matthew Goins, assistant director for publication in the department of Student Activities at Howard.
“However it took time for students to get reorganized after coming back from the holiday break. The students already had the initiative and were motivated.”
Students at Howard University are concentrating their attention specifically on the people in East Africa that were affected by the tsunami.
Goins, whose personal goal is for the students at Howard to raise $10,000, said the group is currently researching relief groups doing work in Africa.
While students at Morehouse College and Howard University are raising money for the victims, students at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas are considering ways to have a long term impact on the victims of the tsunami.
“We as a student organization are trying to increase awareness in terms of not only the need for immediate relief, but by making people aware of the long term needs, such as research and warning systems,” said Shrabdha Vora, a medical engineering student and member of Art of Living International at Texas A&M University.
While Art of Living International is an off-campus organization at Texas A&M University, they do plan to team up with other on campus organization within the next month to generate funds and ideas.
For more information about donating to the people affected by the tsunami relief, go to www.usaid.gov.