Students shake a can for Japan

From Monday, March 28 to Wednesday, March 30, the members of Gamma Beta Phi will be in the Student Union collecting donations for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  All of the proceeds donated by students and faculty will go to The American National Red Cross.

The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami occurred on the morning of March 11. The 9.0 magnitude earth quake created tsunami waves recorded at 77 feet high that traveled six miles inland in some cases. The death toll has been estimated to be well over 10,000. The Japanese expects extreme consequences in the future due to the nuclear poweplant meltdown that was a result of the quake.

“It seems like every semester there’s some sort of disaster; last year it was Haiti and Chile,” said Jackie Dale Thomas, director of Leadership Development, “and this year Japan.  Gamma Beta Phi has just kind of become the group that always steps up and says ‘What can we do to help this out?'”

During the three days, members of Gamma Beta Phi will be out in the Student Union with jars or cans, trying to collect change as they shake them for passing students. Any amount will do as they try and collect money for the devastated nation.   

“We contacted the International Red Cross and asked if there was anything that we could collect,” said Thomas.  “They said what they really need for these people is money and to have the big companies send the water and [other] things.”

Various companies such as LivingSocial, an online company that offers special deals in areas across the country, has offered to match any five dollar donations with five dollars of their own.

The idea of the can shake was simple enough.  Create a booth in a very busy place, the Student Union, and have a large group of people, Gamma Beta Phi, shake cans to get everyone’s attention. Any spare change will be enough.

“I love being part of Gamma Beta Phi,” said sophomore Sarah Twidwell, majoring in elementary education.  “This is the one organization that I’m most involved in and I just think that this is a great cause.”

Though Gamma Beta Phi has taken the initiative to collect donations, the total of the donations will be made on behalf of Southeastern. With other organizations and people making donations, this seems to be a truly universal effort.

“We have a lot of departments,” said Thomas. “And people have already called me and said ‘I really wanted to do something and I didn’t know what to do, so I’m going to send you a check.”

“We do as much as we can,” said Twidwell. “For not just our community or our campus, but we can help people around the world.”

If you would like to donate more, contact the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the Red Cross at 504-620-3105 or visit For donations made to the school, contact Thomas at 985-549-2233.