Monday, March 12, 2012

[306] MTSU Students Set to Help Fukushima Disaster Victims

FOR RELEASE: March 7, 2012
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081

University Announces Service Project as First Anniversary Approaches

MURFREESBORO—As the first anniversary of the March 11 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, approaches, Middle Tennessee State University is announcing a 10-day disaster-recovery education-abroad and service program slated for June 2012.

With support from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Fukushima University and MTSU International Affairs, 10 MTSU students will witness firsthand the impact of a national disaster and participate in the cleanup and rebuilding mission.

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and resulting tsunami engulfed the Fukushima Dai-chi nuclear power plant, sending three reactors into meltdown. The Japanese government declared the plant stable in December 2011.

“MTSU has assessed the current situation and consulted with Fukushima University,” says Dr. David Schmidt, vice provost for international affairs. “At no time while engaged in program-related activities will students be in areas where the U.S. government recommends its citizens avoid travel.”

Students were chosen from a group of applicants to participate in the project, which is tentatively scheduled for June 5-15. Under the leadership of Schmidt and Dr. Doug Heffington, director of global studies, the MTSU group will hear presentations on the catastrophe from Fukushima University students, work with other volunteers to clear debris and prepare meals in the Soma district and exchange observations with the Fukushima students at the program’s conclusion.

“The focus of the program is to strategically examine how to address a national disaster, given limited resources and time,” says Schmidt.

The study-abroad students also will use simulated models and assignments to study past and present strategies of disaster recovery, Schmidt adds.

Each student will pay a fee of $1,000 to cover all instruction fees, lodging and international airfare from Nashville to Japan. Some meals will be provided, but students will cover most of their own meals and incidentals.

Those with questions about the upcoming project may contact the Office of International Affairs at 615-904-8190 or Schmidt at

Celebrating its 100th anniversary and faithful to its roots as a teachers' college, MTSU continues as a top producer of teachers in Tennessee. Pride, Tradition and Excellence are the cornerstones of "Tennessee’s Best"! For MTSU news and information anytime, visit

No comments: