Student group raising funds for Japan

by Bill Crotty

Courtesy of Aztec American Red Cross
Courtesy of Aztec American Red Cross

A new San Diego State student group called the Aztec American Red Cross is raising money for Japan during the next few days. The fundraising comes only a few days after yet another disaster struck the region. Last Thursday, Japan was hit by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake, putting the country in even greater need than before.

“Japan is a strong country and will be able to rebuild, but after so much destruction, anyone could use the help,” finance sophomore Laura Bardewyck said.

The group is selling T-shirts for $15 each, with all of the proceeds being donated to Japan through the American Red Cross. The shirts will be sold from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, tomorrow and Wednesday on Centennial Walkway in front of the Student Services building.

Economics junior Celeste Rodriguez said they started the event because they thought students would be interested in contributing to a good cause.

Support for the group has risen quickly as the five girls who started the non-profit organization have been spreading news of their fundraiser on Facebook in hopes of selling out of the initial batch of 50 shirts. Accounting junior Kelsey Holmes said it would be “awesome if they sold out,” and that they would get more if so.

“I would really love to see someone I don’t know walking on the street, wearing one of our shirts,” Holmes said.

The group started earlier this semester before Japan was hit by the 9.0 quake on March 11.

“We were doing a lot of helping out with blood drives and other community service events, and then the disaster struck,” Bardewyck said.

Because of its interest in community service projects such as blood drives, CPR Saturday and other aid programs, including Japan relief was a natural choice to expand the services the group provides.

“Next year, we will participate in events such as the Breast Cancer Walk,” ISCOR and political science junior Brittney Landers said.

Other projects the group is involved in are “Adopt a Platoon,” which sends two gift boxes to a U.S. military platoon in Afghanistan each month, and a recent fundraiser at Chili’s, which journalism and political science junior Alyson Fargher said was a very rewarding night.

“During the fundraiser at Chili’s, I ate with a foreign exchange student who had family in Japan during the disaster,” Fargher said.

The Aztec American Red Cross has also teamed up with the Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity to help spread awareness and for additional community outreach with an established organization. Landers said she hopes this will help the shirts make it off campus, which would help them to include other, similar non-profits.

“We have the opportunity to collaborate with other organizations,” Fargher said. “Community outreach shows other established groups our success and allows us to learn more from them.”

The shirts for the Japan fundraiser are not only sold by an SDSU student-run group, but were also made by a San Diego-based company called Consuul, which was started by SDSU alumnus Travis Lubinsky.

“We look to work with students from organizations who can make a difference,” Lubinsky said.

SDSU students who are interested in becoming involved with the Aztec American Red Cross, or any of the events it volunteers with, can contact the group on Facebook by searching for the group’s name or by sending an email to aztec.redcross@yahoo.com.