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UNK, Kearney community extend helping hand to Japan
Ashley Leever
Antelope Staff
Photo courtesy of Yasuhiko Suzuki
Kohei Kawai, Yuki Mori and Reo Sakamoto collect donations at the entrance of Walmart to put toward the JAK relief fund for Japan via the Japanese Red Cross. In the week following the earthquake and tsunami, JAK set up collection sites both on campus and in the community, and so far, the organization has raised more than $5,000.

Student organizations working together to support relief efforts


While many students enjoyed a relaxing spring break last week, UNK’s 115 Japanese students were still focused on what they could do to support each other emotionally and raise money to support those in Japan.

 Nearly three weeks after a catastrophic 9.0 earthquake struck Japan, the island nation continues to feel great repercussions.

As the death toll of over 10,000 continues to rise, Japan has also faced a nuclear emergency when three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station exploded and leaked radiation into the atmosphere.

 With a large Japanese flag displayed at the entrance of the Nebraskan Student Union the day after the earthquake, it became evident how passionate UNK’s Japanese community was in helping with the relief efforts. 

 “The university has been really helpful to us. For example, Jayne Heimer, Japanese Association at Kearney (JAK) advisor, helped a lot by letting us know how to get donations at UNK. And Tim Danube (associate director of the Nebraskan Student Union) helped us clear all the crazy rules for

accepting donations. I really appreciate the university,” said Ko Muroga, president of JAK and a senior aviation system management major from Nagoya, Japan.

JAK’s efforts have been extremely successful so far. “JAK has already raised more than $5000 for relief efforts with the help of UNK students and Walmart customers,” said Jayne Heimer, JAK’s advisor. “Students also folded 1,000 cranes (a symbol of long life and good luck) to be sent to

victims of the disaster at a later time.”

 Although Heimer reports that although some Japanese students families were from the areas affected, all their families are okay.

However the aftermath of the earthquake will affect all of Japan.

“All Japanese students will be affected by the disaster because it has had a huge negative impact on Japan’s economy, which will ripple into all other aspects of their lives,” Heimer said. “Students with family members in Tokyo may hear reports from their families of shortages on food, water,

gas and electricity, as well as elevated levels of radiation in tap water and food.”

 With these continued ramifications, UNK’s international student organizations plan to work together to help Japan.

“We are planning to come together to put on a big event,” said Camila Parra, vice president of the International Student Association and a senior economics and internationalstudies major from Colombia. “Our president, Ramesh Neupane, is from Nepal, and he has been working with NESAK

(Nepalese Student Association) as well as JAK to plan something really meaningful that includes not only UNK, but the community as well.” Heimer said, students want to continue to share information about how Kearney residents can donate money to the relief effort. With the help of the

American Red Cross, ISA and JAK hope to put on a fundraising event that will reach out to the UNK and Kearney community. 

 “The Kearney community has been really great at supporting ISA. They are really interested about what we do here and what we do for the community and UNK. I know they will be more than glad to help,” Parra said. 


Donate to JAK for japan relief aid


The Japanese Association at Kearney is collecting donations which they are passing on to the Japanese Red Cross. 

Those interested in donating can write out checks to JAK Treasurer Tomonobu Aozasa,  who will deposit donations into the Wells Fargo bank account that JAK has established for this purpose. (Tax regulations do not allow students organizations to directly collect money on behalf of third party agencies on campus). 

Anyone can send checks to, or request additional information from:


Fauneil Meier or Shirley Vetter 

International Center 

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Welch Hall

Kearney, NE 68849 

Phone: 865-8246



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