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Students, Faculty Raise Funds for Japan Through Origami and Other Efforts

From creating chrysanthemums to cooking a meal, members of the SUNY Plattsburgh community are doing what they can to help victims of the quake and tsunami in Japan.

Take the members of the Japanese Cultural Association of Plattsburgh, for instance. They hosted a dinner and raised $1,700 in aid. Through T-shirt and chocolate sales, coin drives and other efforts, they managed to double that total.

Then, there are the chrysanthemums.

The brain child of Professor of Art Diane Fine, the origami flowers are being sold for $2 donations to the American Red Cross. The folded-paper creations are then posted on a bulletin board on the second floor of the Myers Fine Arts Building.

After watching horrific video footage from Japan, Fine wanted to do something to support individuals in Japan and to let the school’s more-than-60 Japanese students know that members of the college community care. She remembered the Japanese tradition of making 1,000 paper cranes to bring about marital success, long life, good luck and healing, and she thought the art department might harness some of that symbolism through this project.

So far, the department has raised another $800 through these efforts, which will run through the end of the month. After April 30, Fine plans to raise even more money by allowing people to take the flowers home for $1. There, she said they can use them as gifts, as ornaments and so forth.

“Our Japanese students have been very present throughout this process,” Fine said. “And they’ve expressed their gratitude so beautifully and graciously.

"In addition to support from the students, Kim Hall-Stone, our secretary in the art department, has played an important role in this project,” Fine said. “I'm grateful for all of her efforts in making this idea a reality."

To donate, visit Room 220B, Myers Fine Arts Building between 8 and 11:30 a.m. or noon and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Or make checks out to the American Red Cross. Minimum donation is $2, no maximum. Send to Diane Fine, Art Department, SUNY Plattsburgh, 101 Broad St., Plattsburgh, N.Y., 12901.

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