Organization raises funds for Japan

The Nova International Student Association will host a candlelight vigil on March 31 at 7 p.m. at Gold Circle Lake to remember the lives lost in the Japan earthquake.

Japanese traditions will be honored at the vigil where attendees will release floating candles on the lake as a tribute to the dead.

Nhee Vang, graduate assistant for International Student Affairs, said, “NISA is geared toward helping international students so they should be first ones involved.”

At the vigil, three Japanese students will share how the earthquake affected them. There will also be a poem reading and a ceremony to light the candles.

Vang said the organization hopes to raise $1,000 to help Japan. All funds will go to the Japanese Consulate in Miami. Vang said the Japanese government will give all funds directly to the victims and their families.

Students can bring cash donations to the vigil. Vang said, an online platform for donations is also being constructed.

He said NISA received help planning the event  and raising money  from Ablaze, the Undergraduate Student Government Association, the Division of Student Affairs, the Graduate Business Student Association, Anthony J. DeNapoli, Ed.D., executive director of the Office of International Affairs, Terry Morrow, assistant dean of Student Affairs in the College of Allied Health and Nursing.

“When something like this happens, people get on board willing to help out,” Vang said. “They understand that even though it is short notice, it is important and they are willing to help out any way they can.”

Vang said NISA hopes to host a comedy show and other events to raise more money within the next three weeks.

Naoko Kurata, second-year marine biology student at the Oceanographic Center and member of NISA, said when she first heard about the earthquake in her homeland she wanted to do something, but did not know what.

“[Japan] absolutely needs help and I was feeling very frustrated because I couldn’t do anything being so far away,” she said.

She emailed Vang and started brainstorming ideas.

“I feel so blessed to have NISA. I couldn’t have done much without their help,” she said.


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