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June 25, 2008
By Alix Cirac
The University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) is bringing financial aid to the victims of the May 12 earthquake that devastated China’s Sichuan province. Program leaders hope the University community and Reno/Sparks residents will offer cash donations – which will be forwarded to the Northern Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross — to help the victims.
“It is our understanding that the country has been receiving a lot of incoming supplies,” said Kelly Corrigan, marketing and university relations director of USAC. “At this point, the easiest and best thing to do for them is to get them financial support they desperately need.”
The spring semester ended May 9 for USAC’s program in Chengdu, China. The earthquake hit three days later. By that time, most of the students had already left to come home. A small group remained to travel independently around the country and the continent.
“We were able to quickly contact and determine that all the students were back in town or safe in China,” Corrigan said.
The first summer-session students left May 16 for Chengdu, four days after the earthquake. That group has reported that their session is going smoothly. According to Corrigan, they have taken all of the courses and completed field trips as scheduled, and their experience in China has been very positive.
For the people in the nearby rural areas, however, normalcy is a long way off.
“Every little bit helps, as with anything,” Corrigan said. “We’re looking for help from everybody, the campus community and the community at large.”
The 7.9 earthquake affected mostly rural areas in the south centrally-located province. About 70,000 people were killed, an equal number are missing, and estimates say that 5 million are homeless.
Chengdu, the largest city in Sichuan, is home to one of USAC’s study abroad programs in China. The city of about 11 million people didn’t suffer extensive damage from the quake, though it is situated 50 miles from the epicenter. USAC and the Southwest University for Nationalities in the city have worked on student exchanges for years.
“The partnership between USAC and the university in Chengdu has been strong for 10 years,” Corrigan said. “It feels right to collect donations for the victims. It is something we should be doing.”
For more information, contact Corrigan at (775) 682-5891 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks can be made out to American Red Cross, with “Sichuan earthquake relief” in the memo line, and should be sent to University of Nevada, Reno, Attn: Kelly Corrigan, Mail Stop 323, Reno, NV 89557.