The Undergraduate Council voted unanimously to pass the Harvard for Japan Act at last night’s meeting.
The act offers tentative financial support for the various campus initiatives that are aimed at providing aid to the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The act—which was created to provide funds and manpower for the various student initiatives that have taken shape—was passed in the wake of week long efforts by various student organizations.
The Council did not designate a specific amount of money that they would offer groups.
“Hopefully we will be able to provide additional funding if it is requested,” Senan Ebrahim ’12, UC President, said.
Harvard for Japan Movement and the Harvard Asian American Association co-sponsored the act and have already begun to work with the Council to publicize events.
“We have already been working with various student organizations, whether or not we had the sponsorship,” Ebrahim said.
With the official sponsorship now in place, Ebrahim said he hopes to see an increase in the publicity of various events and the provision of more funding if it is requested.
The Harvard for Japan Movement, whose main sponsor has been the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, could benefit from an additional funding source as its leaders plan events for this week and next.
The movement will launch tonight with a candlelight vigil at Memorial Church, which Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds is expected to attend. Later in the week, other events will include an origami workshop, a movie screening, and a benefit concert in Sanders Theatre.
Hiroko Kumaki ’11, a leading figure of the Harvard for Japan Movement and co-sponsor of the act, said she was impressed with the responsiveness of not only the UC, but the entire college community.
“We didn’t think the response would be this big,” Kumaki said. “Even when everyone was out on spring break, it has been great.”
While the movement has gained momentum quickly and will continue to grow over the course of the next two weeks, Kumaki said she hopes it will be able to last for two years if necessary—however long it takes for Japan to fully recover.
“We are hoping this will be a long term effort,” Kumaki said. “The destruction has been indescribable and we are hoping that this can provide an alliance that can help other organizations come together and keep going.”
—Staff writer Rachael E. Apfel can be reached at email@example.com.