April 28, 2011
Associate Professor of Anthropology Rachel Newcomb used a President's International Initiative grant in 2008 to travel to Japan. "Everywhere I went, I was astounded by how kind, helpful and polite Japanese people were," Newcomb shared. "The places destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami looked similar to places I visited, and I feel their suffering all the more intensely for having been to Japan and encountered its citizens."
On March 11, a nearly incomprehensible disaster descended on Japan as a magnitude-9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami rocked the nation and its millions of inhabitants. Weeks later, more than 20,000 are dead or missing and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, crippled by after-shocks, remains a tangled mess yet to be unraveled.
While Rollins College is nearly 10,000 miles away from Japan, the disaster’s impact has nevertheless stretched from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to our shores on Lake Virginia. From the President’s discussion of nuclear energy to students’ relief efforts, we chronicle our ties to Japan and our efforts to help.
President Duncan Puts Japan’s Nuclear Crisis in Perspective
On Wednesday, April 13, Rollins President Lewis Duncan led a discussion with members of the Rollins Community on the history and current state of nuclear powered electricity. Sponsored by the Office of Community Engagement and Rollins Helping Japan, Duncan addressed the topics of the risks of nuclear disaster, how they can be avoided and new, safer nuclear technology.
In light of the recent and tragic disasters in Japan which led to the current nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, Duncan urged those in attendance to move beyond a strictly emotional response to the emergency. “This is a time where the world needs to stand up and take action together and worry about the blame later,” said Duncan, who has a deep understanding of nuclear reactor technology, having worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and with families effected by the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl. “The world is challenged with outdated reactors which are more susceptible to damage during crisis.” Duncan also noted that another contributing factor to the severity of the disaster is the absence of an international policy on a nuclear waste repository.
In a call to action, Duncan asked students to change the course of the national conversation about nuclear energy. “It’s up to your generation to make the breakthrough on alternative energy. There is a clear and urgent need to implement safer and more modern nuclear technology in the short term. However, it is essential that the vilification of nuclear energy end and ‘the best and the brightest’ must dedicate their lives to nuclear progress.”
By Justin Braun '10 '11MBA
Rollins Helping Japan
When the natural calamities hit Japan, a handful of Rollins students decided to do their part to help. They collaborated with Airmobile Ministries, an organization which aims at establishing more sources of safe, clean water in Japan, and then launched a campus-wide fundraising initiative selling t-shirts, ribbons, dumplings and cookies, as well as collecting personal donations. To date the group has raised over $1,800.
Rollins Helping Japan will be selling ribbons ($3) and t-shirts ($15) and accepting donations of any amount at the Office of Community Engagement through the end of the semester.
By Annamarie Carlson '14
Cornell Fine Arts Museum Helps People Give
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) recently became the only Florida venue chosen by the Consulate General of Japan in Miami to exhibit Sharaku Interpreted by Japan’s Contemporary Artists, a presentation of the personal reinterpretation of the 18th-century artist by today’s fine artists and graphic designers. The exhibition, sponsored by the Japan Foundation in Tokyo, opened April 16.
To show its support to Japan, CFAM had a card at the front desk for visitors to pick up that identifies ways they can contribute to the relief effort. In addition, CFAM’s website offered links to suggested relief groups. Donations for relief efforts can be made at the museum’s front reception as well.
The Cornell venue of this acclaimed traveling show included many high-quality reproductions of Sharaku’s best-known portraits; 28 posters by prominent graphic designers; and 23 objects in varying media—painting, sculpture, and prints—by leading contemporary artists who have reinterpreted Sharaku’s imagery using a combination of fluid ideas and masterful expression.
By Kristen Manieri
Holt Student Sends Best Wishes to Japanese Relatives
My mother is American but my father is Japanese. All of my father's family still lives in Japan – thankfully, in western Japan in Tazawa and Niigata. Although they were not affected by the tsunami, the earthquake did significant damage to their houses. One of my uncles, who lives in the mountains, was concerned about the possibility of avalanches and mudslides from the after shocks.
Now that the water has receded and the quakes have stopped, a new enemy has appeared: radiation. My family is not terribly concerned about the radiation affecting them directly, but they are worried about the damages to the food they eat that comes from other parts of Japan. They do have their own gardens were they grow a small amount of produce, but they do not have way to test their soil yet.
Japan is a country where the people work fast and efficiently; everyone there is working to find solutions to the many problems they face. My family and I feel bad about being far away, and traveling there is very difficult (especially right now). For now, we keep in close contact with our loved ones, and hope for the best for all of Japan.
I spent the summers in Japan as a child and I have fond memories of playing in the mountains and rivers. I am very sad knowing that the landscape has changed drastically. It will be a different place when I visit again.
By Cindy Ichikawa '13HH