Stories of Change

Tami Houser: Relief for China and Studying Abroad

May 12, 2008, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated China. College of Pharmacy students were scheduled to be there in June. The Study Abroad Program made the earthquake personal to Tami Houser. She and 47 other students were prepared to study medicine and culture. But, could they help?

Tami went to Dr. Leanne Lai, director of the International Pharmacy Program. Dr. Lai contacted the Red Cross Society of China. It was too difficult to ship supplies to areas hit hard by the quake. The best plan was to raise funds for relief.

Student Andrea Fass joined Tami's cause. The College of Pharmacy has many International Programs. Their students rallied too. Students placed flyers and donation boxes across campus. Dr. Lai coordinated relief efforts with the University of Beijing.

Tami says students couldn't have done it alone. "Our faculty goes the extra mile." And, doesn't stop.

Dr. Lai is the faculty advisor of the International Pharmaceutical Students' Federation. Tami says Dr. Lai is a role model. Dr. Lai started relief efforts after the 2004 Tsunami. She shows philanthropy is ongoing work. After disaster headlines end, need continues. Relief must continue too.

Tami's compassion for quake victims transformed the learning experience for everyone.

Studying abroad at the University of Beijing was not interrupted by the quake. But, all of China was affected by the suffering. Beijing students were also raising funds. Tami says the University sees a lot of international students "just pass through." Dr. Lai and the pharmacy students changed that.

NSU Pharmacy students were far from Sichuan Province and the epicenter of the quake. But, their relief efforts didn't stop on the trip. U.S. pharmacists along for the program made contributions. Students chose to donate the remaining balances of their school meal cards.

NSU Pharmacy students learned about acupuncture, medicinal foods and even insects. They marveled at traditional Chinese medicine. And, their Beijing hosts marveled at NSU students. Despite differences and distance, they did all care about China.

The University of Beijing honored NSU students. The U.S. students and Chinese students combined the funds they raised. The donation to the Red Cross Society of China was made part of their certification ceremony.