Florida Southern College Study Abroad group donates to earthquake relief fund while in China
Travelers’ humanitarian gesture picked up by Chinese news media
LAKELAND, Fla. (May 30, 2008) — A Florida Southern College Study Abroad group donated over $1,000 toward earthquake relief efforts while they were on a three-week cultural and historical tour through China May 5-26. The group took up a collection when they learned of the 7.9 magnitude quake that struck near Chengdu, and then presented the donation to the Red Cross in the city of Xi’an, drawing the attention of the Chinese media.
“Making our gift to the earthquake relief was one of the most satisfying things we did” during the tour, said Dr. James Rogers, FSC art professor and one of seven adults accompanying the 16 students on the China trip. “The response by the Chinese was wonderful. We all were very happy that we did this.”
The group had been scheduled to travel to Chengdu a few days later to visit the panda reserve, but rerouted to Chongqing, stopping in Xi’an to make their donation. The Red Cross had set up a large donation booth in the central square of the old walled city near the Ming Dynasty bell tower.
“It was run like a big telethon with loud speakers. Chinese students were handing out flags and plastered us with stickers,” said Rogers. “They were most grateful and impressed by our gift and announced it on the loud speakers.”
A reporter from the main Xi’an daily approached and asked the group’s guides about them, took pictures and interviewed them. Shortly after, a story appeared on the Chinese news website, www.hsw.cn, one of China’s most prominent news sites. The story and photos can be viewed at http://news.hsw.cn/2008-05/18/content_6966466.htm. (Please note: This link may take up to 10 seconds to load.)
Florida Southern offers the Study Abroad program in May each year, providing travel opportunities around the world. The China trip included classes in Chinese Art and Architecture, Digital Photography, and the History of the Olympics.