The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks donate money to help Japan

Carolina Service Council and Residence Hall Association give money raised from T-shirt sales

The Carolina Service Council (CSC) and the Residence Hall Association (RHA) donated $6,384 to the Red Cross on Friday to support Japan, a country still reeling from the earthquake and tsunami last March.

The money was raised in April and May by selling “Gamecocks Helping Japan” T-shirts for $10 each.

CSC President Christina Galardi said the Japan fundraiser embodies the organization’s mission statement, which is to promote the idea that students can make a tangible impact through hands-on service projects and awareness programs.

“What made the Japan fundraiser stand out was the enthusiasm that the T-shirts stirred in the student body,” said Galardi, a fourth-year public relations student. “Every time they put the T-shirt on, they reminded themselves and others of the importance of supporting global humanitarian causes like this one.”

The proceeds will support basic needs such as medical teams, triage, water purification, housing and food supply in Japan, said Scott Salemme, the Red Cross regional chief executive officer who received the check on behalf of the Columbia Red Cross.

“Clearly, a lot of progress has been made, but a disaster of that magnitude takes years to overcome,” Salemme said. “There’s a lot that needs to be rebuilt, and there are remaining infrastructure issues and nuclear power issues.”

USC’s contribution will add to the international Red Cross’s efforts to contribute nearly $300 million to relief efforts in Japan.

“Our community has been very generous, and USC is an integral part of that community,” Salemme said.

Galardi said she feels a strong attachment to this project. Her best friend from high school was in Tokyo at the time the tsunami hit.

“After a painstaking period of time, I finally heard from her and knew she was safe,” Galardi said. “Hearing the details, I knew I wanted to devote my time to provide for the devastated Japanese people in any way I could.”

Galardi explained that the timing of the fundraiser was not ideal, as students are usually busy with exams and final projects after spring break. However, she said was proud to see students’ willingness to donate to foreign aid despite time constraints.

RHA President Katie Webber said she finds charity engrained in USC culture.

“Students [at USC] truly have a heart,” said Webber, a third-year mathematics student. “It can be easy to sit on campus and forget about humanity as a whole, but students here are aware that there is a world in need outside the microcosm of USC. That’s what really made this fundraiser so successful.”

Webber emphasized that RHA wants to use its funds, which come from on-campus residents’ “activities fee,” to not only promote unity within residence halls but to also support the global community. When CSC pitched its humanitarian cause in March, RHA senators and presidents supported the legislation unanimously.

“When you look at the success of the Haiti fundraiser last year, approving a fundraiser for relief in Japan was an easy decision,” Webber said. “The senators and presidents [of each residence hall] noted that they received exclusively positive feedback from the residents. And that’s something we can all be proud of.”

Additional reporting for this article was contributed by Kathryn Kranjc.