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A spirit that is not afraid

Students raise money to make clean water accessible

<p>Students for Clean Water Executive Board with founder, Tara Collins.</p>

Students for Clean Water Executive Board with founder, Tara Collins.

Since becoming active in 2013, Students for Clean Water has raised awareness about the global water crisis and raise money to help mitigate its effects.

The water crisis refers to widespread lack of access to clean drinking water. According to World Health Organization, contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485,000 deaths each year from diarrhea. 

After former Miss Auburn Tara Collins chose the water crisis issue as her main campaign platform in 2013, she and her team raised awareness and money for the cause. After a week, the group donated all the proceeds a non-profit to purchase bio-sand water filters for those in need.

Once the money was donated, Jones went on to create the organization Students for Clean Water. And since the group’s original donation, they have raised nearly $92,000 for water filters to give to communities in need.

Molly Kilpatrick, senior in biosystems engineering, is currently the president of this organization. She said that the group is passionate about serving global projects and raising awareness about a wide-reaching issue.

“We seek to humbly lead our campus and community towards the goal of eradicating the world-wide water crisis and inspire others to join us in living out the Auburn Creed,” Kilpatrick said.

The organization is partnered with  Neverthirst, a Birmingham, Alabama based nonprofit, which helps fund the making and distributing of bio-sand filters to areas that lack access to clean water.

Kilpatrick said that the organization holds two main events throughout the year to raise money for these filters. In the fall, the group hosts the Carry the Jerry 5K, in which the runner must finish the race holding a jerry can of water across the finish line. In the spring, they host a bowling tournament called H2Bowl at GoodTimes Bowling.

Aside from these events, Kilpatrick also said that the group also has Water Week in the spring. During this week, members of the organization promote their cause on the concourse. They also hold several smaller fundraising activities all throughout the year.

“This organization provides students with the opportunity to become knowledgeable about world issues and make friends from different backgrounds who are passionate about the same topics,” Kilpatrick said.

Students for Clean Water is made up of four committees: marketing, special events, campus relations and outreach. Members are free to choose which committee they want to work on. This allows members to work where they have strengths, or so that they can work out their weaknesses.

Kilpatrick noted some of the work done by the campus relations committee. This committee participates in chapter visits, where present about the water crisis overall, as well as their chapter’s upcoming events.

Kilpatrick was optimistic about the future of the organization and was confident in the work they had done in recent times. They will continue their community-based events and plan on meeting their fundraising goals. They plan on working with Neverthirst in the future, and even hope to expand their reach to a more global campaign once travel restrictions are lifted.

“We plan on starting trips abroad to distribute water filters once the COVID-19 pandemic allows for travel to certain areas,” Kilpatrick said. 

She said that the group had taken one trip abroad in the summer of 2019. They traveled to Costa Rica to give water filters to those in need.

“Access to clean water is considered to be a human right,” Kilpatrick said. “But still over 700 million people worldwide lack access to clean, potable water.”

Kilpatrick said that because of the dangers of consuming dirty water, the water crisis is also a health crisis. Having clean water means having a healthier community.

“Providing clean water to those who do not have it provides good health and allows for communities to prosper,” said Kilpatrick. “Clean water changes everything for those who have not had access to it.”

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When communities have access to clean water, their people are able to do work that they need to do, they are able to go to school and they eliminate health risks.

“We plan to continue spreading awareness about the water crisis,” Kilpatrick said. “And we hope to get others involved in this issue that we are so passionate about.”

Tucker Massey | Content Editor

Tucker Massey, junior in journalism, is the content editor for The Auburn Plainsman.

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