Since the disaster, the students organized events around the campus and community. In total, they raised more than $19,000 from various food drives and events, including a film showing.
The JTR also folded 475 paper cranes and donated them through Student Rebuild “Paper Cranes for Japan” project which will match $2 for every crane collected through the Bezos Family Foundation.
But the group wanted to show continuous support for the victims, the kind of support that would last for many years and serve as a memorial to the victims.
One of their members suggested planting a flowering cherry blossom tree on campus.
Cherry trees have symbolic meaning for Japanese people. Each spring, the trees blossom all over the country.
The cherry trees can enjoy their beautiful flowers only if they go through the harsh winter. The spring blossoms always coincide with the start of the new school year in Japan (April) and these trees are often symbolized as new start and strength.
With this in mind, the JTR wanted people in Madison to remember the victims in Japan who are courageously fighting to reconstruct their lives.
Thanks to the generous support of several individuals and the UW-Madison Botany Department, the group planted a shidare sakur or snow fountaions weeping cherry tree on May 10, 2011.
Visit the Botany Facebook Page to see more photos from the planting.
The tree was planted in the Botanic Garden on the corner of Mills Street and University Avenue between Lathrop and Chamberlin Halls.
Although small, the tree will grow and bloom next spring.
And each year it will grow stronger.
The JTR can be reached at email@example.com