Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Jessica Traufler – Performing for humanity

Jessica Traufler did not know exactly where to turn when she heard an earthquake had struck Japan.  But it wasn’t long before she realized that the love inside the arts would lead her in the right direction.
The University of Iowa senior grew up on various military bases throughout Japan, where her parents still live.  She lives in Iowa City with her brother and sister.
“Growing up, earthquakes were normal and never really phased me,” said Traufler.  “When I turned on the news, I was shocked.  I remember sitting there watching the live footage and feeling heartbroken and helpless.”
Luckily, she soon received an e-mail from her father that said they were both safe.  That kind of news would never come for many others in the island country, however.
“When the tsunami hit and I was watching that live footage, I couldn’t help but cry,” said Traufler.  “All I can remember thinking was ‘How is Japan going to overcome this? How can they possibly move forward?’”
Traufler is a Theatre Arts and Elementary Education double major.  When the disaster hit she was performing in the UI Theatre’s Antigone 2.0 show.  The support she received from the rest of the cast gave Traufler an “empowering” idea.
“It made sense that all art, whether it is music, writing, theatre, or dance is necessary because it helps people overcome and come together,” said Traufler.
Traufler set to work planning an event to raise money for relief over spring break.  Her plan was approved the following Monday and a team of people were ready to implement the show by Wednesday.  “Iowa Love for Japan – Love Through Performance” was a reality. 
She has worked on stage and off on various shows during her time at the UI, which contributed greatly to the planning stage of the project.
The team contacted dancers, musicians, theatre artists and performers of all kinds for the event, which took place on April 25.  About 90 people showed up to see 11 different performances and contribute over $1,400 for relief assistance. 
Their fundraising goal is $5,000, which they hope to reach through online donations that can be made here.  That money will be given directly to an organization called ShelterBOX that sends full functioning homes in a box to the areas hit by devastation.
“We should make a conscious effort to help those who are in need, regardless of race or home country,” said Traufler. “We are all here together and we all need to keep the bigger picture in mind, the world is so much greater than our own individual lives.” 

Brynne Schweigel is a senior studying Journalism and Mass Communication as well as Political Science at the University of Iowa. She currently contributes fashion pieces to the University of Iowa Her Campus branch's blog. She writes weekly for the University of Iowa's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research's blog, the Iowa Environmental Focus, and had pieces published in The Daily Iowan. She spent the Spring 2010 semester interning at the state capitol in Des Moines. In her spare time, Brynne enjoys shopping, reading, running, listening to music and playing with her puppy, Bonnie.  She will graduate in December 2011 and hopes to move somewhere that never has snow.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️