Salem State community responds to the Japanese tragedy


Message from the President

March 18, 2011

To all members of the Salem State University community,

I know we all share deep concern for the pain and suffering that the Japanese people are experiencing following last Friday’s 8.9M earthquake and the catastrophic tsunami that followed. Although the extent of the devastation in terms of lives lost and disrupted, families and communities displaced, entire towns destroyed, and an economy in distress have yet to be determined, we know that Japan will require the assistance of the rest of the world as it struggles to recover.

Our thoughts at this time center particularly on the Japanese members of the Salem State community, from the 23 Japanese undergraduate and graduate students on our campus to members of our staff with relatives in the affected areas. I was relieved to learn that we have been in contact with most of our Japanese students and alumni, and all report that they and their families are safe. One student we have spoken with confirmed that her family is safe however, she remains concerned about her father, who lives close to the nuclear power plant, and relatives in Sendai—one of the most seriously affected areas—whom she cannot contact.

At present, we have one Salem State student participating in a study abroad semester in Japan. He reports that he was not in the region that was directly affected and is fine. We also have a student who is currently with the Semester at Sea (SAS) program. Semester at Sea officials report that the program is currently unaffected, but—with the MV Explorer scheduled to pull into the port of Kobe, Japan, on April 4—“they will continue to assess conditions in Japan in terms of risk assessment.”

Our Center for International Education (CIE) has been the unofficial contact operations center to this point. As of Tuesday, they have heard from approximately 28 Salem State alumni in Japan, each of whom reports that they and their families are safe. Some have reported that items within their homes were damaged, while others are reporting they had to walk nearly four hours to get home last Friday as a result of the collapse of basic infrastructure.

Both our Japanese students on campus and our alumni in Japan have expressed their deep thanks to the Salem State community for its concern.

Expressions of compassion and support alone, however, will not assist Japan with its most immediate concerns. I am therefore asking those members of our community who wish to assist our friends across the sea in their recovery, rebuilding and renewal efforts to pull together as we did for Haiti relief last year and donate in whatever small—or large—ways you are able. Numerous student organizations on campus are collaborating to organize fundraising efforts. I ask that you read the information that follows this message to learn of these opportunities and to visit this page,, frequently for updates.

As Salem State University is a caring community, I know that you will respond.

Patricia Maguire Meservey

Click here for President's Office information.

Get Involved!

“Love is greater than 8.9M” Tsubasa Suzuki and Suyoun Cha, two Salem State students have coined this phrase. They are currently working with many groups and clubs and several departments on campus to organize relief efforts for those who were affected by the devastation in Japan. Any support that you can give would be greatly appreciated. In the near future, posters will have information regarding details for planned activities and events. We have also created this website for your convenience. Here, you will find updated information on what’s going on and how you can help.

We know that many of you will want to be supportive. The “Love is greater than 8.9M" symbol was created by Tsubasa and Suyoun to show our unification and solidarity to these efforts and will be used to identified university sponsored activities. If you have additional ideas on how to be supportive, please contact either the Center for International Education (978.542.6351), the Ellison Campus Center (978.542.6438) or the Center for Diversity and Cultural Enrichment at (978.542.2318). These offices will help to centralize our efforts.

Thanks again for your support to the Salem State community members who have been directly impacted by this devastation. Below is a list of planned activities. Please return to this site for more details as events will be updated.


If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please go to the bursar’s office located on the second floor of the Administration Building. Let the person at the counter know that you would like to make a contribution to the Japan Relief Fund.

In addition to the donation efforts that have already taken place, all fundraising efforts from March 28 - April 29 will be held from 11 am - 1 pm. Please stop by the table in the various dining commons located on different campuses to make a contribution. Donations will be accepted throughout these upcoming weeks. Beginning March 31, T-shirts will be sale for $10; wristbands for $3; candy bags for $2. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross.

The following groups and departments are supporting Tsubasa Suzuki and Suyoun Cha by co-sponsoring these events:

Asian Student Association
International Student Association
Student Government Association
Center for International Education
Student Activities, Ellison Campus Center
Center for Diversity and Cultural Enrichment