USC Turkish Clubs Send Aid Following Earthquake

The destruction path is roughly the distance between New York City and Philadelphia.

[One-sentence description of what this media is: "A photo of a vaccine site on USC campus" or "Gif of dancing banana". Important for accessibility/people who use screen readers.]

The Turkish Graduate Students Association (TGSA) at USC held a donation event Thursday to help Turkish and Syrian communities in the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Partnering with the Turkish Trojan Association (TTA), USC TGSA held the fundraising event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Trousdale entrance to raise funds and donation items to help rescue and aid efforts in Turkey and Syria.

The rain and cold weather have slowed down rescue efforts. Over 20,000 people are confirmed dead. TGSA is asking for donations such as blankets, winter hats, canned foods and medical supplies.

“Those [items] will be the help that we can get right now. But that’s kind of short [term] like for a month. For the long way fund based donations will be much more helpful,” Orkun Bednir, a volunteer with TGSA said.

TGSA and TTA are asking for funds to be donated to @usc_tgsa on Venmo. All proceeds will go to AHBAP, a Turkish fundraising organization collecting donations for earthquake relief efforts. Melis Olcay, a member of TTA, said the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson will match donations 2 to 1.

The President of TTA, Belis Saran, explained the importance of donating a single dollar. “The undergraduate student population is roughly 20,000 people. If everyone donated a dollar … we [could] make a difference,” Saran said. She explained that because of the currency exchange rate, the group could raise about 400,000 Turkish lira.

Jonathan D. Aronson, a professor of communication at USC, said there are a number of questions that still need to be answered, such as who is collecting funds and how those funds are distributed.

That’s what TTA and TGSA hopes to combat. All proceeds will be donated to Turkish organizations who directly assist with relief efforts and the affected communities.

The destruction path is roughly the distance between New York City and Philadelphia.

So far, more than 5,700 buildings have collapsed, according to the Turkish disaster agency. The current death toll is sitting at about 16,546 people, on track to quickly hit 20,000. The World Health Organization predicts a total of at least 30,000 fatalities when the dust settles.

A previous version of this story spelled a source’s name incorrectly. Annenberg Media regrets this error.