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UCSD Students To Send Paper Cranes And Donations To Japan

With Japanese reeling from a massive earthquake, tsunami and radioactive plume, UC San Diego students plan to ease their pain with 1,000 paper cranes -- and $10,000 in donations.

The effort began with the school's Japanese Student Association, which is made up of first- and second-generation Japanese-American students, many with family or friends in Japan, said Yuta Morinaga, the organization's spokesman.

The Japanese Student Association joined with the UC San Diego Rady School of Management, International House and School of International Relations/Pacific Studies to form a coalition, "Help Japan," and launch a website, www.wepay.com/donate/helpjapan, to collect donations.

Students sold rice balls, or onigiri, on campus to raise money and made an arrangement with the bubble tea shop Tapioca Express to donate 15 percent of its sales on March 29 to the "Help Japan" cause.

During the Japanese Student Association's annual event, Matsuri, on March 31, students will set up a donation booth and make 1,000 paper cranes to send to victims in Japan.

The group did not say how the cranes will be sent to Japan or distributed once there.

The group has also provided emotional support to students, Morinaga said.

"To watch the news and see the houses being demolished, it's horrifying," he said. "Although we can't help the victims with hands-on support, we want to do as much as we can here."

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