The room was buzzing with anticipation. Around 150 people, the majority with ethnic ties to Malaysia, were crammed into a meeting room with around 100 seats. But despite the discomfort, all were there to witness something special: one community coming together to help another.
After the massive flooding of Ames and much of the campus, ISU alumni in Malaysia saw a photo of the destruction and wrote a letter to ISU President Gregory Geoffroy expressing their concern for their “home away from home” and also their desire to help the community.
On Saturday, Malaysian alumni, represented by Choy Leow, former president of the Malaysian Student Association of ISU, donated $1,000 to United Way of Story County to help with flood relief. “The gift is for the people of Ames,” Leow said.
Jean Kresse, president and CEO of United Way of Story County, accepted the check. Kresse said that including the check from the ISU Malaysia Alumni Association, more than $13,500 was donated for Ames flood relief.
Also present was Riad Mahayni, Deputy Mayor of Ames, representing the Ames town government.
AMSISU adviser John Wong spoke of the sense of community that is so strong among Malaysians and called the donation “reverse foreign aid”, saying Saturday was “a continuation of this story, this tradition”.
In the past, AMSISU has been deeply involved in the Ames community. During the farm crisis of the 1980s, Leow – then president of AMSISU – led a fundraiser that raised over $14,000 for a scholarship fund that enabled two students from the ISU whose families had been impacted by the crisis to complete their education at Iowa State.