NU Stands with Thailand raises money for flood victims

Lauren Caruba

The Northwestern Thai Club launched an on-campus campaign called NU Stands with Thailand to raise money for flood victims Tuesday.

The group offered Thai bubble tea to NU students and faculty at a booth outside of the Kellogg School of Management’s Jacobs Center in exchange for donations at its first on-campus fundraising event Tuesday. Thai Club began taking donations two weeks ago through an online donation site, which has already raised more than $1,000 toward the group’s goal of $5,000. The money will go to victims of the worst floods Thailand has seen in 50 years through several different nonprofit relief organizations, including Thai Red Cross, group members said.

SESP senior Emily Srisarajivakul and Weinberg senior Sasi Rianterawongs, members of Thai Club, started the initiative to raise awareness among the NU community about the flooding, which they said has been largely overlooked by national media publications.

“It’s an issue that needs awareness,” Srisarajivakul said. “It needs attention.”

The flooding in Thailand, which began in July, has killed nearly 400 people and affected more than two million, according to a Nov. 1 Reuters article. The majority of Thailand’s provinces have been flooded, but Thailand authorities are working to prevent water from penetrating central Bangkok, which is vital to the country’s economy.

According to group members, $1 can buy five liters of clean water or a full meal for a flood victim.

The tea booth is the first of several upcoming events Thai Club will host to promote NU Stands with Thailand. The club will hold a bake sale Thursday in the Technological Institute lobby and will sell T-shirts in Norris University Center Nov. 4 through 9, Srisarajivakul said.

Wis Maethasith, co-president of Thai Club, said the kinds of resources available to both NU and the United States should be shared to aid countries in need.

“We should acknowledge the things going on in the world as part of a leading university,” the McCormick junior said. “We, as the already-developed country, should try to acknowledge and do something to help other countries.”

Local Thai restaurants Siam Splendour and Thai Sookdee are donating gift cards and food to sell during fundraising events, Rianterawongs said.

Club members are working to have the campaign officially recognized by the Associated Student Government so they can reach out more to NU departments and student groups for support. The club is publicizing the campaign through Facebook and pamphlets distributed to students to educate them about the floods, Maethasith said.

Rianterawongs said she is optimistic about the fundraiser because of the successes of past NU campaigns to aid other countries plagued by natural disasters.

“I’ve seen us come together before for several great causes such as NU Stands with Pakistan and NU Stands with Japan,” Rianterawongs said. “I strongly believe that this diverse and supportive student body can come together again to raise awareness and support this cause.”

Thai Club’s fundraising efforts come at a time when flood victims need aid the most, as Oct. 27 through Nov. 1 was the peak period for flooding because of seasonal tides and water flowing from the northern provinces, according to a news update from Thailand’s government.

Because the majority of Thai Club members have family and friends currently residing in Thailand – some of whom have been forced to evacuate from their homes – the campaign is especially meaningful to the group.

“I just feel like I want to do something,” Rianterawongs said. “I want to help those flood victims. Even though I’m here, I can send help financially and raise awareness.”

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