University Park, Pa. -- The University Office of Global Programs (UOGP) expressed deep concern on behalf of the entire Penn State community for the victims of the massive earthquake in Japan and resulting tsunamis and nuclear power plant damages. UOGP is working with officials in Japan and at the University to ensure that every effort is made to provide assistance to Japanese students on campus, Penn State students studying in Japan, and to fundraising efforts to send relief to those affected by the disaster.
Vice Provost for Global Programs Michael Adewumi released a statement Thursday (March 17) with regard to students on education abroad programs:
"We are grateful that all of the 17 Penn State students studying in Japan, or scheduled to study in Japan, have been accounted for and are either already home or making their way back to the States. I would like to thank our partners in Japan including the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) Tokyo Program and Nagoya Program (also IES) with Nanzan University; Tohoku University in Sendai and Ibariki University in Mito. And I commend our Emergency Response Team at University Park who worked tirelessly to contact the students and make arrangements for their safe return.
"The U.S. State Department is making arrangements to evacuate personnel from Japan out of concern for the situation at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The State Department issued the following warning: 'The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Japan at this time and those in Japan should consider departing.' "
International students from Japan who are studying at Penn State and are in need any kind of special attention as a result of this disaster are encouraged to call Robert Crane, interim director of Global Relations & Promotion in UOGP, at (814) 865-6348. For international students dealing with disasters in their home countries, Global Programs offers logistical support and sometimes limited financial aid in addition to the emotional support available from the Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services. UOGP helps students get in touch with their families to determine if they are safe; assists with travel and visa arrangements if needed; and ensures that students maintain their academic status if they plan to return to the University. The office has an International Student Distress Fund that can provide very limited financial help as needed. (Contributions to this fund may be sent to the University Office of Global Programs, attention Sherry Miller, 410 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802.)
UOGP is also working with the student Japanese Friendship Association to assist with their fundraising efforts related to the crisis in Japan. The Association is collecting donations in the HUB-Robeson Center every day. In addition to other events in progress, the organization's International Coffee Hour scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in the HUB will be held in honor of Japan and donations will be collected there as well. As details are finalized, more information will be available on the UOGP website and in the weekly newsletter, The Global Lion, both at www.global.psu.edu online.