Comfort for Victims of Chilean Quake

Wear jeans and support the people of Chile, the country recently shaken up by a magnitude 8.8 earthquake, the fifth-largest temblor ever recorded.

That’s what the University of Phoenix faculty and administrative staff in 14 learning centers across Southern California are doing. They’re paying to put their jeans on, the donations for which go toward Chile through the American Red Cross.

At Costa Mesa’s University of Phoenix learning center, just off the 405 Freeway, nearly 80 administrators contributed either $10 to wear jeans for two straight days or $25 for the entire week, said Thomas White, project manager on campus.

“We love the denim, we love the cause. It’s all for a good cause,” White said Monday as he and several other employees showed off their blue jeans.

The University of Phoenix has raised nearly $2,000 since the campaign began last week.

And for all the money that employees raise, Apollo Group matches it.

The University of Phoenix is a subsidiary of the Apollo Group, which also owns Western International University and Axia.

The idea of wearing jeans sprang from Canning for Hunger, something faculty and administrators do once a month in the same vein — only they bring in three cans of food.

“It’s great knowing that you don’t have to take them to the cleaners, that all you have to do is wash them,” said Art Clark, a faculty scheduler for the university, which offers online classes as well as courses at the university’s learning centers.

Clark wasn’t the only one who brought out his favorite pair of jeans to start the week.

Kelli Steelman, financial services manager, and Joline Ta, a finance counselor, were also happy they could help Chile while feeling comfortable in their favorite pairs of jeans.

“Our company tries to get involved in a lot of different events,” Steelman said. “It’s a great company that does great things. It’s great for the employees, too — you know, that added bonus of giving back. It makes you feel good.”

But in a few days, Steelman said the jeans are going to have to come off, and the more appropriate attire is going to have to go on again.

“I’ve got a big meeting at the end of the week, and jeans wouldn’t be appropriate,” she said with a laugh.


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