Written by Jennifer Chien, Pheel Wang
Translated by Diana Chang
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
With each passing day, the new coronavirus outbreak seems to become more relentless, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 alarming the masses, and the lives lost to the virus reaching over one thousand. The list of countries with confirmed cases has likewise increased. However, more and more people have also banded together to send their love and care to the hard-working medical professionals on the frontlines, helping them meet the needs this global crisis demands.
On February 12th, the Emory Chinese Student Association (ECSA) at Emory University launched a fundraiser of their own, calling upon individuals to support Tzu Chi USA’s “Providing Relief During the New Coronavirus Outbreak” campaign through ECSA’s WeChat official account.
Finding the Right Fit
“Winter will pass and Spring will come,” stated an article posted on ESCA’s official WeChat account on February 12th. All are concerned for the medical professionals on the frontlines of the epidemic. The sentiment, indeed, encourages people to remain strong, and to not lose hope among the challenges to come. In this time, we are with each of those affected in mind and spirit.
The article formally announced that the Chinese Student Association of Emory University joined hands with the Tzu Chi Collegiate Association (Tzu Ching) at Emory University — as well as five more associations from the University — to turn their desire to help into a positive force. All funds raised will be donated to the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation for the purchase and delivery of medical supplies to affected areas across China.
The WeChat post expresses the students’ ideas with great attention to detail as well as the need for the utmost transparency. They explained that the idea of initiating the fundraising campaign had been formed half a month prior, but they wanted to find a reliable organization they felt truly did what they said. Such care and consideration postponed the launch a bit. However, the time was used to devote their efforts toward careful research, contacting organizations and individuals, and then finally, deciding upon Tzu Chi.
Power Through Unity
Chloe Lee, the president of Emory University’s Tzu Chi Collegiate Association, who is of Chinese descent, and specifically from Singapore, expressed that Tzu Chi has a known reputation in both Singapore and Malaysia — that most people know Tzu Chi and place their trust in the NGO. When the campaign was initially launched within the school, however, some obstacles arose as many students were not as familiar with Tzu Chi’s footprints of global humanitarian relief.
As soon as the new coronavirus epidemic began to spread, members of Emory University’s Tzu Ching began discussing how best to assist health professionals. Annie Sun is a Tzu Chi volunteer and mentor for the Tzu Chi Collegiate Association. She told us that since the spread of the virus began, Tzu Ching has paid close attention to the development of the epidemic, and are ready to help.
After discussions at the Tzu Ching book study, everyone had reached the consensus that they needed to get the word out to more students. They then began collaborating with the Chinese Student Association, which has the largest number of Chinese students among its members at Emory University.
Reassurance and Trust
Emory University became the first example of such collaboration among student associations for this cause. Chloe Lee explained that there are several core factors that commonly drive individuals within Chinese communities to simply purchase and send the needed supplies themselves — trust being one of them. Therefore, when Tzu Ching initially contacted the Chinese Student Association to participate in the campaign, the plan was met with some uncertainty.
Annie Sun encouraged Tzu Ching members to prepare related Tzu Chi materials. This included an introduction to Tzu Chi’s origin in Taiwan, and photos collected from all over the world as Tzu Chi volunteers delivered crucial disaster relief supplies in-person to those in need.
Their efforts were soon recognized, and after more than a week of meetings, the Chinese Student Association of Emory University decided to donate all the funds raised to Tzu Chi, and even took the initiative to find five more Chinese student associations on campus to unite with.
The ECSA WeChat post furthermore described another detail:
We are deeply grateful for all the diligent hearts in the Chinese Student Association at Emory University, and for the boundless love and trust that has been placed in Tzu Chi. This commitment and care will undoubtedly accompany Tzu Chi volunteers around the world as they tackle the challenges ahead.
Joining Forces to Safeguard Health
The online fundraiser initiated by Emory University students will come to a close on February 26, after which all the funds received will be donated to Tzu Chi for the procurement and delivery of essential medical supplies for medical professionals on the frontlines of the epidemic in China.
The situation is rapidly evolving; however, everyone can help make a difference. Let’s join hands to guard global health.