This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day takes on added significance in the wake of the tsunami in Southeast Asia last month. Though many take it as just a day off, the chance to help those in need gives meaning to the spirit of the holiday, both on campus and internationally. An impressive and praise-worthy effort has been put forth by individual students, AU administration, the Student Confederation and campus chaplains to aid those in need.
Special mention also goes to Bon Appetit, which allowed students to donate one meal plan to go toward benefiting the tsunami victims on Wednesday. Though it would have been better to give more than one meal, at least Bon Appetit was willing to re-route some of the money that was already paid to them by students to go toward those in need after facing the disaster.
Students Helping Asian Relief Efforts, or SHARE, will sell Livestrong-style twine bracelets, with proceeds going to aid the victims. It’s excellent that the AU students are finding creative ways to help out.
Even individuals are taking big steps, such as Saji Prelis, an AU alum who was in Sri Lanka when the wave hit. He has “adopted” a village and is trying to raise money to help its citizens. It’s very impressive to see an Eagle doing so much to help, and it reflects wonderfully on the AU community.
However, for all the money donated internationally to aid the victims, it’s been a problem finding people to go to the area and put the money to use. So it’s especially impressive that some in the AU community are interested in traveling to Southeast Asia. To drop everything and give aid to those most in need is very admirable.
AU has gained a reputation as a globally-aware university, and the campus’ reaction to the tragedy in Southeast Asia has only cemented our status as a caring and helpful community. With Martin Luther King Jr. Day coming fast, now is a good time to remember the famous words: “Think globally, act locally.” While reaction to the tsunami has been strong, it doesn’t change the fact that people here in D.C. and everywhere in the world need help.