Chancellor's Friday Letters

Hugs for hope – lessons in giving

Hugs for hope – lessons in giving

April 1, 2011

Dear Friends,

If you are prepared for some goose bumps and pride…keep reading.

And if you can help in any way, all the better and thanks.

Today’s Letter is about going beyond self, and how our increasing emphasis on internationalization is creating global citizens – mainly through curriculum, pedagogy, and international collaborations and exchanges.  We also teach students to be responsible citizens, who share the benefits of a world-class UC education with those less fortunate. But experience complements book-learning any day, and the lessons that capture the heart as well as the mind, are those that stay with us.

All this came to mind with the news that University Extension Dean Sharon Duffy had paid $20 to the Japan relief effort for hugs from her Japanese students. True the terrible ordeal sparked by the March 11 earthquake will remain with each of our Japanese students all their lives . . . but so will the instantaneous support, kindness and warmth provided by Dean Duffy and her staff. The hugs also proved profitable.  The students raised $1,000 in just a week.

They also showed they learned the American custom of hugging!

Another unintended lesson came from an ad hoc campus group, which spent this entire week beside the Bell Tower selling arts and crafts and creating origami cranes (senbazuru)  . . . the Japanese symbol of hope and goodwill . . . Their goal: 1,000 cranes, because Japanese folklore says that anyone who makes a thousand cranes will have their wish granted – a lesson in Japanese tradition. They solicited messages for a banner to be delivered to UCR research partner Tohoku University in Sendai next month.

Our industrious University Extension staff is preparing another learning opportunity – a mid-May Celebration of Japanese Culture fundraiser – with Japanese students and their 300-plus host families, showcasing tea ceremonies, calligraphy, crafts, games, music, fashion, folktales and dance.  Our Japanese students have also fashioned 1,500 origami geishas for bookmarks. At a cost of $10 each which will be donated to relief for Japan, each will be inscribed with the purchaser’s name in calligraphy.

A new campus website for Japanese relief has been unveiled – a labor of love by The Well and Asian Pacific Student Programs, and a fount of information. The easily navigated site – http://relief.ucr.edu/Pages/default.aspx – is a wonderful one-stop-shop for anyone with questions or concerns.

Our students are helping across the world and just down the road…giving to others.

We were proud and impressed by the hard work of seventeen UCR undergraduates who shunned the traditional spring break “R&R,” preferring to donate 100-plus hours for those less fortunate.

They prepared backpacks of food for 1,000 needy local children. They packed more than 500 boxes of provisions for poor children abroad, and they assembled more than 100 boxes for the homeless at the LA Food Bank. The students ran the gamut . . . from freshmen to seniors . . . from engineers to sociologists.  They all had one thing in common: a kind and generous heart.

“Helping and watching others help reminds me that there are good-hearted people in the world,” said Sandy Perez, a second-year sociology major.  Yes, Sandy, we all need that reminder when we see so much inhumanity in the world.

Esperanza Rosalez, a fourth- year student majoring in sociology, law and society, volunteered on her birthday, March 23. But perhaps she received a gift anyway. “I am really glad to have had this opportunity. I met so many people these past few days. . . . I had a lot of fun . . .”

You can see the students in action on their Facebook album http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=45412&l=b1b37d67ed&id=100000635824419

Perhaps it is fitting that on Monday I am kicking off Spring quarter with a mid-day celebration at the Bell Tower and celebrating the wonderful work of the people of our campus, in our own backyard, and across the world.  This has been a tough year so far . . . in so many ways and in so many places around the world. Among other things, this will be one way to say, “thank you” for this outpouring of generosity.  I look forward to a huge turnout to enjoy the pizza, music and festivities – not only for students, faculty, staff and alumni . . . but community members too.  So spread the word.  The more the merrier.

And I’ll be looking for those geisha bookmarks and a few origami cranes…



Tim White, Chancellor

Share your thoughts: http://fridayletters.ucr.edu/leavefeedback

Proud of our accomplished students
This is the face of UCR – diverse, committed and effective. Thirteen of our students will participate in the fourth annual Clinton Global Initiative University, held this weekend at UC San Diego. These students are ambassadors from UCR to the world.

Birds and butterflies will attend
Tomorrow and Sunday mark the Spring Plant Sale at the UCR Botanic Gardens. For 38 years, the friends of the UCR Botanic Gardens have offered a chance to find plants that are not only water-wise, but attractive to birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

Film fans to mingle at Culver Center
The champagne reception for the Riverside International Film Festival next Friday, April 8 will take place at UCR’s Culver Center of the Arts. We are thankful that campus friends and donors created a place to draw the arts community together.

Find out what else is going on at UC Riverside: http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Department Information

Office of the Chancellor
4108 Hinderaker Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5201
Fax: (951) 827-3866

E-mail: chancellor@ucr.edu