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Students Take Action in Wake of Disaster


Students Take Action in Wake of Disaster Overseas

International students at UCR Extension establish fund-raising drive to help earthquake victims in China

(May 23, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, CALIF. — AiHua “Melody” Yang, a UCR Extension graduate of the TESOL certificate program and student worker for International Education Programs (IEP), was compelled to act.

“I am a mother. I have a child. When I saw that some of those students were trapped in the building, I felt really sad,” Yang said.

Yang, a resident of Fujian Province in China, and fellow IEP student Zhou Zhi Heng, who is from Zhejiang Province have rallied international and American students alike at UCR Extension and the University of California to raise funds for those devastated by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake centered `in Chengdu, China, on May 12.

Within 24 hours, the students were able to raise almost $2,300. Donations have come from everyone — students and staff from all nationalities. “I have been so appreciative,” said Yang, who has lived in America for one year. “There are many students helping us.”

Yang and Zhou will continue to collect donations through May 30. The money collected will be delivered to the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles. Inadvertently, Yang has learned through disaster how to organize a relief effort. With the assistance of the Chinese Student Association and advice from the Chinese consulate, Yang learned very quickly what she needed to do to help those back home.

“We want everything to be transparent,” Yang said.

Charlene Pratt, associate director of International Education Programs, said the fund-raising drive has been completely initiated and organized by the students.

Those interested in contributing to the earthquake relief fund can donate cash or write a check payable to the “Chinese Consulate General in LA.” Donors are asked to include their full name and address so that the Consulate General can send back a receipt and a “Certificate of Gratitude.”

For more information about the relief fund or to donate, call (951) 827-1718.

UCR Extension is the continuing education division of the University of California, Riverside. Extension offers more than 3,800 courses and 90 certificate programs in a variety of academic programs, including agriculture and landscape, arts and humanities, business and management, education, forensic investigations and public safety, teacher’s credentialing, English, environmental management, geospatial analysis and technology, health services and behavioral sciences, information technology, languages, law and public policy, Native American studies, natural sciences, and yoga.

To browse classes or register online, visit www.extension.ucr.edu or call (951) 827-4105 or toll-free at (800) 442-4990. To receive a free UCR Extension catalog, which includes a complete listing of all our current courses and certificate programs, call (951) 827-3806.


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The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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