Students, staff and community members gathered Friday afternoon for the Nepal Vigil in Fresno State’s Peace Garden to offer flowers, respect and aid for the Nepalese people who are suffering from the tragic earthquake that ravaged the country a week ago.
Samikshya Budhathoki is an international student from Nepal studying biology in her first semester at Fresno State. Budhathoki said that every penny counts to help Nepal recover from the disaster.
“Words aren’t enough to show appreciation for the efforts of Fresno State along with professors and students,” Budhathoki said. “It is part of my pride to say that I am a student of Fresno State.”
Budhathoki said she was very touched to hear all the words from caring people who spoke at the vigil and is pleased with the support that Fresno State has offered her country.
“The entire nation is crying without food or basic necessities,” Budhathoki said. “We can’t just watch everything happening — such disasters are global problems, so we need to help.”
Fahad Alzuwaid, a mechanical engineering major said, “It was nice to see the community coming together to support each other halfway around the world.”
He said that the spirit of Fresno State is one of giving and helping, and that university students and the community can play a major role in aiding Nepal.
“I chose Fresno State partly because of the diversity of culture it held,” Alzuwaid said. “To see it stepping up in the aid of Nepal is just what I expect from a university that is devoted in helping its community.”
Coming to Fresno State from Saudi Arabia, Alzuwaid said watching Friday’s event enhanced his understanding of global cultures and seeing the vigil made him realize that, even though people might think they are alone in another part of the world, there’s always someone a step away ready to lend a helping hand.
“Back in Saudi Arabia, I have a neighbor who has a driver from Nepal,” Alzuwaid said. “I called him to check on him and his family. His family was greatly affected by the earthquake, but they all are alive and well.”
Sean Boyd, a professor in the department of geography and city and regional planning, said he was pleased to see how quickly campus faculty and officials were able to organize the event.
“I have learned that while Nepal is a very spiritual place, it is also a very poor country, and its people need our help,” Boyd said. “It is important for the Fresno State community to feel empathy for all in the world who are suffering from disasters, whether they are natural disasters or human-caused.”
Boyd said Fresno State’s faculty and staff are diverse and represent many parts of the world, which is an especially important part of the vigil.
“We must stand with other people around the world who suffer,” Boyd said. “My colleague, Dr. Mohan Dangi, is from Nepal and has family there. He led the efforts to organize the vigil.”
Helping with donations and aid, Karen Jimenez, a fourth-year geography major, said the event was beautiful and was impressed by the donations made.
“It really stirred a lot of feelings,” Jimenez said. “I think it was beneficial to the Nepalese community on campus to get together and mourn and comfort each other.”
Jimenez said she went to the Associated Students, Inc. desk to ask if the Geography Club could help raise money for the disaster and was then told about the vigil and setting up a spot for people to donate.
“The club raised $465,” Jimenez said. “Fresno State has many international students and professors, and this makes us especially sensitive to events that happen around the world.”