Profs, students need help to rebuild schools in China
May 30, 2008
Among supporters of the fundraising drive to rebuild
schools in China are (left to right): Yiping Guo (civil
engineering), Peidong Wu (mechanical engineering), Gu
Xu (materials science & engineering), Luke Chan (associate
VP, Office of International Affairs), Changqing Xu (engineering
physics). Photo credit: Licy Li (third-year biochemical
Students accept donations at McMaster as part of
a fundraising effort to help build new schools in areas
affected by the recent earthquake in China.
A telephone conversation with a McMaster engineering professor traveling
in China has sparked a fundraising campaign to rebuild schools devastated
by the May 12 earthquake.
Representatives from the Association of Chinese Professors at McMaster
University (ACPM) and the McMaster Chinese Students and Scholars
Association (MacCSSA), the two organizations leading the fundraising
drive at McMaster, were joined by members of the University
and Hamilton communities to launch the initiative Thursday.
“This has come together very quickly,” explained Gu Xu, president
of ACPM and professor of materials science and engineering at McMaster. “We
have been working non-stop the last 72 hours to get this going.”
The initial target of the campaign is to raise $75,000 (CDN), enough to
build one school in the region affected by the earthquake. McMaster
organizers are liaising with Project Hope, an initiative run by Beijing-based
China Youth Development Foundation, which has been carrying out school
building projects in China for several years.
Media have reported that nearly 7,000 schools have collapsed as a result
of the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Sichuan Province in southwestern
China, trapping and killing thousands of school children. It is estimated
that the total death toll in the region has reached 65,000 with more than
23,000 people still missing.
The idea for the fundraising drive began during a phone call from David
Embury, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering at McMaster,
who is traveling in China, although not in the area affected by the earthquake.
“We were discussing various matters related to China and he mentioned
that we should do something concrete to help the people recover from the
earthquake,” explaind Gu Xu, president of ACPM and associate professor
of materials science and engineering. “There is a lot of immediate
relief funding coming in but we felt it was important to start looking
at longer term needs as well.”
Prof. Xu spoke with Luke Chan, associate vice-president, Office of International
Affairs at McMaster, who was aware of the work being done for Project Hope.
“We would like this to turn into a more personal relationship,” explains
Prof. Xu. “We want it to benefit people on both sides for many
years to come.”
Other members of the Faculty of Engineering supporting this initiative
include David Wilkinson, Dean of Engineering; Max Wong, Chair, Department
of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Gary Purdy, Professor Emeritus,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Donations are being collected by the McMaster Chinese Students and Scholars
Association at several locations at McMaster as well as at
Hospital and Hamilton General Hospital. Donations can also be made
online or by mail.
donate or for more information
www.cydf.org.cn (in English: http://220.127.116.11/gb/english/index.htm)