Michael "Gecko" Griffith here, I have some bad news and I am seeking your help.
Last week, a faulty electrical exhaust fan caught the Preston Dorm at the College of William and Mary on fire last Tuesday, May 3rd; destroying just about all the third floor, causing water damage to the 1st and 2nd floors and slightly damaging the adjacent Giles dorm.
Luckily, nobody was injured, but all of the 150+ students of Preston have been displaced. Now the College of William and Mary have set up a fund (Student Fire Emergency Fund) to help out the students affected and there has been help from the community, but more help is needed.
The 3rd floor of Preston held the Japanese House, or 'J-House' as it was popularly known is a 'language house' which is/was an immersive environment where students studying Japanese could have a place where they could live and learn the Japanese lifestyle. A good portion of the William and Mary Anime Society (WMAS) lived there as well. The WMAS video library was spared as it was kept in another dorm but the J-House had a rather large collection of anime, manga and Japanese reference books in the common areas that have been destroyed. Many of the books belonged to the live-in tutor, Reiko Iguchi; a Japanese national, who helps the students of the J-House with translations and were used as teaching aids. I am writing to her to get a list of books that were destroyed and hope to have a list posted soon.
This is where my plan comes in...I would like to get the word out to the various Mid-Atlantic anime/manga fans and communities to see about replacing those items lost in the common areas to the fire...these are items that the normal channels of help wouldn't have a clue how to go about replacing them. But I know quite a few people who may be able to help.
So, this plan would serve several purposes, but I need some input first to see about how to tailor the campaign. First, this campaign would get the word out about ALL of Preston and Gile's displaced students, the 3rd Floor of Preston (J-House) in particular and WMAS; and I plan on this campaign lasting through the Summer and hitting conventions such as Animazement, Anime Mid-Atlantic, and Otakon.
I've also talked to Kara Dennison about hosting a webpage for this campaign.
Now, I've been over to the Governor's Inn a couple times already and I've managed to run into a few of the J-House people, I am getting some some input as to specific titles that were lost.
I'll post a list of titles as I get them, but any Japanese related books, magazines, and videos would be welcome: manga series (translated and not), Japanese language reference books, video tapes or DVDs of Japanese television shows or movies, Japanese books (even children's books), all would be welcome donations to help rebuild the J-House library.
If you have any of these items that you no longer use or have just laying about that you would like to donate, you can mail them to me at the following address:
c/o J-House/WMAS Library Donations
24 E. Southampton Ave.
Hampton, VA 23669
(Be sure to include your mailing address, so I can get the kids to send you a 'Thank You' note...)
I'll store any donations until the Fall semester starts. Since there is no hurry on material donations, please send them book rate (which is WAY cheaper) or you can get in touch with me and we can perhaps arrange a pick-up, if postage is prohibitive. I've spoken to the College and they say that donations are tax deductable, the College Swem Library will evaluate any books for tax purposes, so if you'd like a receipt, be sure to include your name, mailing address and a list of your donations.
I plan to put flyers out at the three conventions mentioned earlier, letting people know about the Student Emergency Fire Fund, donations that can be made to WMAS or material donations. I would like to get started on this soon as Animazement is right around the corner. (I won't be attending as I will be at Wonderfest that weekend, but I can get them into the mail.)
I've been a member of WMAS for several years now and I want to try and give back to them in their hour of need.
Thank you for your support,
Michael "Gecko" Griffith