Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 12
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

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Weather Forecast


Rapid Response Marked Princeton University Engagement With Students, Faculty in Japan

Dilshanie Perera

When the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan earlier this month, the 14 Princeton University students, faculty, and staff in the country were located quickly thanks to the travel database kept by the university in the event of an emergency.

“Our highest priority was to know that members of the University community were safe,” said University spokesperson Emily Aronson, who explained that offices across campus began action as soon as they heard the news about the earthquake. All persons reported that they were secure.

With most of the Princeton affiliates located in Kyoto, away from the region most heavily affected by the seismic activity, Ms. Aronson said that of the eight graduate students, two researchers, one faculty member, and one staff member, those closer to Tokyo were encouraged to move farther south away from the sites that were hardest hit. The University assisted in coordinating the moves and helped those who wanted to leave the country. At Town Topics press time, six have currently left Japan.

Two undergraduates were in Kyoto as part of a consortium study abroad program. Ms. Aronson reported that as of late last week, the consortium decided to suspend the program for the semester and that Princeton University worked with its students to make travel arrangements for their return. They are scheduled to depart this week.

The Global Crisis Response section of the International Princeton website www.princeton.edu/international/community/response details a full listing of events and relief efforts underway on campus.

Cash or check donations will be collected for the Japanese Red Cross at the first floor of the Frist Campus Center Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until April 4. Checks should denote “Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief” in the memo line.

A free public lecture entitled “After the Earthquake: Japan’s Nuclear Plant Crisis” will take place on Thursday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. in Dodds Auditorium at Robertson Hall.

Ms. Aronson said that no University personnel were or are in the Fukushima Prefecture, which contains the compromised Fukushima nuclear plant.

“Princeton staff and administration carefully monitor all student travel destinations to ensure safety and security of students traveling abroad,” said Ms. Aronson. Prior to the earthquake in Japan, University officials were monitoring the situation in Egypt in January, and were in contact with students there, taking action to bring them back to the U.S. as political unrest emerged. “We also have the benefit of International SOS … a travel assistance organization that closely monitors specific locations on the ground.”

Other local organizations are also involved in the relief efforts. The Nassau Presbyterian Church is contributing to aid efforts through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and the Princeton United Methodist Church has also set up a secure website for donations. Visit nassauchurch.org and princetonumc.com for more information.

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