NSU holds prayer vigil for Japan

On March 31, a prayer vigil to remember the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami was held at 7 p.m. on the Athletics and Student Affairs building’s patio.

The event, which was organized by the Office of International Affairs and the Nova International Student Association, as well as students, faculty and staff, also served as a fundraiser. The money collected will be given to a relief fund at the Japanese Consulate.

Anthony DeNapoli, Ed.D, executive director of International Affairs, said he was proud of the students for being there for each other in this time of need.

“This tragedy has proved that we’re a borderless world. We are interconnected by new technologies which allow us to see the events of the world in real time,” he said. “Tonight is a time to remember those who have perished, those who are injured and those who are still struggling to start their lives over again.”

DeNapoli, who was on vacation in Hawaii during the earthquake, shared his personal experience. He spoke of how everyone on the island came together to comfort each other, offering caring words.

Yuko Fujimoto, an NSU alumna and employee at the Language Institute at NSU, was in Japan when the disaster occurred. She described the earth shaking and how she clung to a telephone pole for safety.

“For the first time in my life, I thought that I was going to lose my life,” she said.

Fujimoto said she received emails and messages on Facebook from her peers. She said students continue to give her their thoughts and prayers and that the events have impacted her outlook on life.

“I feel guilty when I waste water or food because so many people there don’t have enough supplies,” she said.

Nozomu Ozaki, second-year doctoral student in family therapy and a Japanese native, shared a story which he wrote in order to help him process what happened in his homeland. He said although he did not experience the ground shaking or waves pulling him away, he was deeply affected by the tragedy.

“[I hope] people can begin connecting by using my story as a platform because stories build connections,” he said.

Brewster Rowley, first-year MBA finance student, spoke of a similar connection.

“I have friends who have family over there. I didn’t know how to contribute. Coming to something like this helps because the proceeds go to help the victims of [the earthquake],” he said.

The vigil featured a traditional Toro Nagashi candle lighting cere-mony. Fujimoto said Japanese believe that people originate from water, and the ceremony is performed in order to help those who have died return to it.

“It may take time, but we [Japanese people] will survive this,” said Fujimoto. “We will be a better country. And it will be a better world.”

Fujumoto said $440 was raised at the event, in addition to $1,000 that was previously procured. Terry Morrow, assistant dean of student affairs at the College of Allied Health and Nursing said the university has agreed to match the funds collected for up to $1,000.

Donations for the relief effort will be collected until April 18. Persons wishing to donate may do so online by logging onto www.nova.edu/giving and clicking on the “Gift Area” drop down box. Then select “Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.” For more information on donating, contact Nhee Vang, graduate assistant for international students at (954) 262-8459 or at  nv152@nova.edu.

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