NYIT Efforts to Aid Japan

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While no single group could possibly resolve the issues involved, the massive earthquake three weeks ago in Japan has motivated many at NYIT to help with the recovery.  On both the Old Westbury and Manhattan campuses, an educational event on April 4th called the Round Table Discussion on how NYIT could get involved was moderated by Dr. Robert N. Amundsen, Director of Energy Management and Professor Stanley Greenwald of Environmental Technology, both in the area of Engineering & Computer Sciences.

The Round Table Discussion, an educational event held to inform people about the occurrences in Japan, involved a panel of four professors at the Old Westbury campus, moderated by Dr. Amundsen.  Professor Yuko Oda in Fine Arts spoke about her experiences in Japan and her contact with friends and family during this crisis and how we could be of help.  Professor Sarah Meyland in Environmental Technology discussed the environmental impacts of nuclear power.  Finally, Dr. Herb Fox of Mechanical Engineering informed people with regards to why we need nuclear power.

The March 11th earthquake was of the highest magnitude in Japan’s history.  While Japan gets its fair share of earthquakes, this occurrence was on a much higher scale of magnitude than the residents are accustomed to.  The damages varied from place to place.  Some areas were heavily damaged, while others like Tokyo remained physically unaffected.  “If they are in a damaged area, people could be homeless.  If people are in Tokyo, things are functioning normally,” says Dr. Amundsen.

While some areas may not be physically affected, the people themselves are another story.  Some people are homeless and have to worry about how they are going to survive.  Others are worried about the radiation emitted from the damaged nuclear power plants.  The casualties have risen to roughly 20,000 people so far and as many as or more than 300,000 people have lost their homes.  Countless people have been affected by this tragedy.  According to Dr. Amundsen, the damage has forced Japan to shut down their 6 nuclear reactors.

With no nuclear reactors, power can only be shared between neighborhoods, meaning power is turned off for 3 hours for a given neighborhood.  Afterwards, the next neighborhood will not have power for the next 3 hours.  If you were to apply this situation to Long Island, this would mean Queens would not have power for a few hours, and then Manhasset would not have power for a few hours.  The residents of Japan have to deal with a complicated situation.  For example, schools and businesses in an affected neighborhood will be unable to work as efficiently due to lack of power for portions of the day.  Businesses not notified of power shortages could incur difficulties with work scheduling and loss of revenue.  Schools will face similar problems as well.

Japan has accommodated their people with emergency shelters for everyone.  There is a large enough supply of food and water to provide to anyone in need of help, according to Dr. Amundsen.  But this does not mean Japan is getting back to post-earthquake conditions so rapidly.  While residents are receiving aid, the situation may last for a long time.  “They have set up emergency shelters and they have enough for everyone, but the problem is this could last a long time,” says Dr. Amundsen.  Given the time it could take to repair the damage caused, this could mean citizens from damaged areas may have to move to unaffected areas while the damaged portions are rebuilt, meaning the lives of citizens in physically unaffected areas like Tokyo could still be affected.

Meanwhile, another NYIT effort to support Japan was done through the sales of artworks in the “We Are One” art sale located in Manhattan, organized by Professor Yuko Oda and other individuals.  The “We Are One” art sale took place on April 11th from 2:00-9:00 PM at NYIT’s Gallery 61 on 16 West 61st Floor marking the one month anniversary.  The fundraiser on the Manhattan campus was intended to raise money by selling genuine Japanese artwork.  Professor Yuko Oda contacted Japanese artists living in New York to create paintings and other artistic pieces to sell at the fundraiser.  NYIT’s New York Manhattan campus Gallery 61 space was used to display the Japanese artwork.  People viewed the artwork from 2:00-9:00 PM and began purchasing artwork at 5:00 PM until the fundraiser was over.  Many artists donated their artwork to the “We Are One” art sale so people could purchase them for $100-$200 each.  All money raised went to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund to help repair damages.

Millions of lives have already been affected, and depending on how Japan handles the situation, many more individuals may have yet to be affected.  Funds from the “We Are One” sale and contributions from around the world will help Japan return to normal.  If you need more information on the “We Are One” art sale or want to contribute to this cause, additional information about the relief effort can be found at http://nycweareone.org/.

 

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