CORVALLIS - Oregon State University students are pushing forward to raise disaster relief funds to aid victims of the southeast Asia earthquake and tsunami.

A 7-foot-tall transparent collection tower has been placed at the entrance to the Memorial Union Lounge, adjacent to the MU Business Office, to collect bills and coins from the community, but the effort isn't stopping there, said Jarvez Hall, president of OSU's student-run Memorial Union Program Council.

"The tragedy is just something that has really brought people together," said Hall, an OSU senior in business administration from Gresham. "Everyone feels very strongly about this issue and wants to do whatever is possible to help the victims rebuild their lives."

"We all want to work together on this fund-raising to coordinate efforts on campus."

The donation tower will be in the MU from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through the month of January. Money raised will go to Portland-based Mercy Corps, an international relief agency that is collecting donations for emergency aid to residents throughout the affected region.

Additionally, students are planning a variety of events to raise additional funds, said Sandra Macias del Villar, an OSU senior in business from Hidalgo, Mexico, who is leadership chair for the International Students of OSU. A fund-raising event showcasing the different countries affected by the disaster is tentatively planned for Feb. 12th on the OSU campus, she added.

"The event will include food, guest speakers, performances and many more activities," Macias del Villar said. "Also, disaster relief money will be collected at every single one of our campus cultural nights, starting Jan. 22 with Indonesia Saturday Market and ending with our Spring Festival on May 22."

Indonesia Saturday Market, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the MU Ballroom, features booths presenting aspects of Indonesian culture as well as diverse entertainment. The event is free, but tickets should be picked up in advance at the ISOSU office in Snell Hall 140, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily starting Jan. 18.

In all, about a dozen cultural nights are scheduled this spring. Students will also hold brainstorming workshops in the coming weeks to develop additional fund-raising ideas.

Groups helping coordinate the efforts include the Memorial Union, Associated Students of OSU, Student Involvement, the Muslim Student Association, Asian Pacific American Student Union, Human Services Leadership Team and the OSU Women's Center.

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Michael Henthorne, 541-737-6256