Ed. Note: A version of this story was originally published in the March 24, 2011, edition of The Oswegonian.
Amanda Woomer ’12 has made so many tiny colored paper cranes that now, as she carries on a conversation, she doesn’t notice her hands meticulously completing each fold to produce a finished crane.
In fact, she only notices what she is doing when she sets the finished crane on the table and starts on another. The intricate piece of origami is roughly the size of a matchbook and very delicate. In two minutes, she has transformed a 3-by-3-inch scrap of paper into a work of art. She is folding for her friends and for people she’s never met.
Woomer folded 1,000 cranes and raised $1,000 in just 19 days for the relief effort for victims of the tsunami that devastated Japan in March. She added 400 more cranes and $400 to that total by working through the end of the semester.
In Japanese culture, the crane is revered as a symbol of peace, longevity and good fortune. It is customary to fold a thousand paper cranes when making a special wish.
“Currently my wish is that Japan is just able to rebuild itself and overcome this,” Woomer said.
Japan is close to her heart.
Her grandfather served in the Marines in Japan during World War II. He fell in love with the people and culture, eventually living in Japan for several years after the war.
That love and appreciation of the culture just rubbed off on Woomer at a young age, she said.
“I want to do something and folding a thousand cranes, I feel like it’s the least that I can do,” Woomer said. “It kind of seems like a small task in comparison.”
— Ken Sturtz ’12