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Back From Spring Break, Wesleyan Students Rally for Japan Relief

10,000 Paper Cranes Project Among On-Campus Efforts to Raise Money for Victims of March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami

Editor's note: Introducing WesWire, a biweekly column on the inner workings of Wesleyan University — from a student's perspective.

Last week, Wesleyan’s student body returned to a campus after a 14-day spring break. Wasting little time, the campus swiftly was abuzz with student activity and events.

In response to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Wesleyan students rose to action with various endeavors. Groups such as the Japan Society has begun planning awareness and fundraising efforts for the victims of these natural disasters. Aside from collecting donations to the American Red Cross, the Japan Society began selling origami cranes in the Usdan University Student Center this past weekend for $1 each. The goal is to sell 1,000 paper cranes.

“There’s a tradition in Japan that if you make 1,000 paper cranes, you can make a wish, and it will come true," said Japan Society co-chair Yuki Ohmori, class of 2013. "One thousand cranes isn’t the maximum, but we wanted to start with this project so that people know the story behind it, and understand that our thoughts are going out to the people in Japan that are suffering right now."

The Japan Society will send the folded cranes to DoSomething.org’s “Paper Cranes for Japan” campaign, which will donate $2 to the victims of the earthquake for each crane they receive. On top of this project, the committee is sponsoring a dance party at Eclectic Society with the Korean Student Association on April 1 and also looks forward a Japanese Culture Show benefit on April 2. The Class of 2013 council has also planned for the proceeds of its second annual pay-to-play dodgeball tournament to go to both Japan and Pakistan relief efforts.

In other campus news, visitors to the Long Lane Farm on the Wesleyan campus may soon notice an uncharacteristic buzz in the air. Class of 2013 students Charlotte Heyrman and Andrew Pezzullo have started beekeeping to remedy the drear of slow winter months at the farm. After purchasing the necessary parts at a Connecticut Beekeeping Association meeting, the students expect the bees to arrive sometime in April, and for the project to be fully operational by May.

Drama surrounding campus Greek life has also been mulling around campus conversations. Before break, Wesleyan President Michael Roth announced a controversial new campus policy banning students from living or congregating in “off-campus private societies.” Student protests and lobbying to the Wesleyan Student Assembly ensued, as many felt the administration’s policy was too overbearing. While the administration maintained that edict increased its ability to curtail violence and increase safety, others felt it was an effort to strong-arm Beta, a historic off-campus fraternity. Roth has continued to face significant student scrutiny as a result of this effort.

Meanwhile, a few other students have set in motion attempts to create Wesleyan’s first non-minority-based sorority. Led by former senior class president Sami Pop, more than 70 interested students attended the session last Thursday. The students have crafted their vision into “Rho Epsilon Pi,” a sorority without a national sponsor, so that they can be free to establish ideas and traditions as they see fit.  Though some students on Wesleyan’s campus attribute negative connotations to fundamental values of Greek life, sophomore leader Melody Oliphant hopes to squash these quips.

“The stereotypical exclusivity and cattiness that’s conjured up when thinking of those settings is certainly not what we’re trying to bring to campus. In fact, we want the exact opposite,” she said. Pop added the message of the group is to “develop strong, passionate women with a commitment to leadership, moral integrity, and community service for the betterment of the individual and the world.”

Based on the large interest, Rho Epsilon Pi seems primed for a bright future on campus.

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Corey Fyke (Editor) March 30, 2011 at 03:15 PM
LOVE the Wesleyan news! Great job Andrew!
Randi Green March 31, 2011 at 05:17 PM
So proud of you, Andrew! From one fellow Patch writer to another, keep up the good work!

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