Volunteers from Baruch Help Chinatown Group Raise $100,000 for Tsunami Victims
BARUCH COLLEGE, NEW YORK, NY -- Tsunami relief has been taken up by everyone from film stars to society matrons. Fashionable people are throwing gala fundraisers and tsunami parties to raise money for victims of the great disaster.
Then again, some people are helping the old fashioned way. Guowei Li (he goes by Wade Li), a Baruch senior, spent six days over the Christmas break standing on a street corner in Chinatown with a big jar on table behind him. Passersby put money in the jarsingles, tens, twenties. Chinatown is not a wealthy community but Wade and his fellow Baruchians collected $70,000 just from their curbside activities.
Wade Li was not alone. Nearly 40 Baruch students worked alongside him, manning four Chinatown locations There were others students as wellfrom SUNY Stonybrook and Buffalo (where Wade's two sisters go to school) and from Brooklyn College. Wade, who came to the U.S. from Canton with his family just six years ago, is the President of the United Chinese Language Association (UCLA), a student club he organized in April of 2004 to bring together Baruch's large but fragmented Chinese population. Community service is part of the club's mission, so when the tsunami hit Wade went into high gear rounding up club members and acquaintances at other institutions.
Beginning on Dec. 30, 2004, the students took their posts out in the cold on Mott Street, on the Bowery, on East Broadway. They were collecting under the auspices of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, a pillar of the Chinatown community. Wade noted that many of the donors were old people, poor people. Few of those who dug into their pockets stopped to chat but some people, they thanked us for helping, Wade said. The fundraising culminated in a talent show and telethon on Saturday, Jan. 8 th . The event, held at the headquarters of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, featured Chinese opera and an appearance by Miss Chinese New York and it raised another $110,000. Local businessmen and walk-ins gave too. In all, nearly $300, 000 was turned over to the Red Cross, earmarked for tsunami victims.
Wade and his team got noticed by the Associated Press which wrote a story about their activities. Channel 7 picked it up too. Wade is happy to have done something to help the people who are suffering. He also hopes it will draw some attention to UCLA. At Baruch, he notes, Chinese student are divided by geography. The Taiwanese students in one group, the Hong Kong kids in another with second-generation, American-born kids sticking together too. UCLA has among its goals to bring together different regions and dialogues and to promote the history and development of the Chinese language in all its variants and dialects.
The AP story can be found at: http://www.newsday.com/news/local/state/ny-bc-ny--tsunami-nyc0105jan05,0,921130.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork )
An excerpt of the WABC - Channel 7 news clip will available shortly.