Groups give noodles for troops

There were plenty of noodles to be had at Coffman Union Wednesday, as the Asian-American Student Union held a fundraiser to support troops overseas. Operation Any Soldier is an ongoing fundraiser sponsored by the ASU that aims to gather $1,000 worth of items to be packaged and sent to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Florence Tran , who graduated from the University of Minnesota in May, said she came up with Operation Any Soldier as a way to support those serving overseas. The group plans to package and send boxes filled with games, books and other comforts from home when the fundraiser is over, Tran said. âÄúBy helping a soldier, youâÄôre helping raise their morale,âÄù she said. âÄúYouâÄôre helping them do their job, which is to protect us.âÄù Tran said she was concerned that the fundraiser might not be well received, given the mix of opinions on the war. Tran said she thought students were warming up to the idea that they could participate in the fundraiser regardless of their views on the war. âÄúIt doesnâÄôt matter if you support the war or not,âÄù she said. âÄúSupporting the troops is completely different.âÄù On Wednesday, ASU sold ramen noodles over the lunch hour, with proceeds going to Operation Any Soldier. Irene Tran , a biomedical engineering senior and Vice President of ASU, said the idea for a noodle drive came out of a group brainstorming session. She estimated that the event raised $150 for the campaign. David Dang , a communications senior, said he attended the event because the food was affordable and he knew the proceeds were going to a good cause. âÄúI think it is important to let them know that we support them here at home,âÄù Dang said. Dang said he thought the idea of a noodle fundraiser was a good one. âÄúItâÄôs an easy way to raise money,âÄù he said, noting that itâÄôs hard to find food in Coffman for under $5. Irene Tran said she thought the fundraiser had a wide appeal, and that Operation Any Soldier has been a success largely because people are impacted by the cause. âÄúAnybody you ask knows someone who has served overseas,âÄù she said. âÄúEveryone is motivated because they have a connection to it.âÄù Operation Any SoldierâÄôs next event will be a pasta dinner and student performance night on Nov. 21. TheyâÄôll accept donations of toiletries, entertainment items and cash until Dec. 5.