Students Spearhead Fundraising Efforts to Help Combat Spread of Coronavirus in China
Chinese Union raises more than $15K to help provide medical supplies to provinces in China
For international students like Pei-Yun T., the outbreak of coronavirus has had an impact personally. “I talked to my mom last weekend and she said my grandpa was not doing well; his cancer is spreading,” she said. “I would love to see him but know right now it may not be safe for me to go home.”
Pei-Yun and fellow members of the student-run Chinese Union, a non-profit organization, share the connection with family members at home. They collectively spearheaded a fundraising campaign to benefit the many communities in China struggling with the outbreak.
“We have always done fundraising, and we are a service-oriented student group,” she said. “When we heard reports that some hospitals are running out of medical necessities, we felt the need to do something to help.”
The group has raised more than $15,000 to help purchase medical supplies for hospitals in the Hubei province (the province home to Wuhan), and the neighboring Henan province. With the funds, the students have already purchased thousands of protective coveralls, medical goggles and facemasks for several hospitals in the two provinces.
A 501©(3) Non-Profit Organization, the Chinese Union, has primarily been fundraising via their WeChat platform, but recently established a GoFundMe to donate more necessities to additional sites.
In addition, the group has already collected 4,000 protective coveralls, 10,000 face masks and 2,000 goggles that are waiting to be transported to provincial hospitals in need. Members of Chinese Union are currently contacting non-profit organizations in China to coordinate donating the necessities to more sites.
“We have been worried about our families back home, though no members have families who have been diagnosed,” Pei-Yun, a business psychology major from Muir College, said. “A friend of mine said there were a couple of cases down the road from where her families lives, so it has of course been concerning.”
Members of the organization have consistently been translating news and updates from UC San Diego regarding the coronavirus and posting the information to their WeChat platform, so subscribers including families back home, can stay informed.
A student group with a mission to serve
Chinese Union was first established at UC San Diego in 2005. Since then, they have helped establish 19 chapters across the country. The organization at UC San Diego is open to all students. The meetings are conducted in Mandarin, so the majority of students are Chinese international students.
The mission of the student organization is to help others and cultivate a welcoming environment for international students.
“We are passionate about giving back to the community; we organize group volunteer projects on a regular basis with the San Diego Food Bank, Feeding San Diego, Humane Society and others,” Pei-Yun said. “In addition, we help international students to move into campus during orientation. We rent shuttle buses to assist students and their families to get from LAX international airport to the UC San Diego campus, and our own members pick up and drive students who arrive at the San Diego Airport.”