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WaterWalk Success

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I was just at the WaterWalk and the Soccer Extravaganza today and it was fantastic! I stayed for a couple hours (no I did not skip any of my classes) and I saw so many people come out and show their support. From the athletic teams to the students to the faculty and staff, Furman really rallied together today for these events. More than 400 people participated in our WaterWalk.  The Water Walk was a mass simulation of the mile trek that millions throughout the developing world experience in their quest for drinkable water.  Participants carried water bottles and containers of various sizes to help raise awareness that access to clean water demands our immediate attention.

You can click on any of the images below to view them larger or to see descriptions:

Thanks to everyone who came out today, Furman soccer, and the countless professors, students, organizations and many others who made this day possible.

However, the work isn’t over yet. Furman students and alumni have already raised $4,000 to fund an entire potable water system, but we need your help.

The Duke Endowment has generously committed to match gifts by any student, alumni or other donor. The project needs only $8,500 of further support to be fully funded. Any and all donations that you are able to make are gratefully welcomed with enthusiasm (just click here ), not only by those of us here at Furman, but the people of Esperanza San Antonio, Guatemala. Today when I was speaking with Dr. Bruce Clemens he said that he had emailed the link to this blog on to those in Guatemala and they were incredibly thankful and overwhelmed by the support being offered through this project.

Also, I feel like I have been neglecting to write about some of the more serious issues and the specifics about what and where lack of water and sanitation is seen around the world so be on the look out for that post which I am hoping to have up soon!

Jordan

P.S. If you are interested in purchasing one of the Guatemala t-shirts sold during the WaterWalk please contact Nancy Cooper at the Heller Service Corp at Furman University. The phone number is (864) 294-2900 and her email is nancy.cooper@furman.edu
Also feel free to stop by the Heller Service Corp office that is located in the upper level of the University Center.

Walk it Out

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It’s only a day away!

The Furman WaterWalk is tomorrow and campus has been hopping over the past week with informative and creative events to spark interest.

I found a few displays set up in the university center and outside of the library:

This was set up to encourage people to sign up for the WaterWalk and the Soccer Extravaganza

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And this was outside the library to raise awareness of the water crisis that is going on around the world.

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Also, John Tynan came to speak at Furman today about water issues. He is the Deputy Director of Upstate Forever and serves on the Greenville (SC) Water Utilities Commission.

Tomorrow there will be two ways that you can get involved here at Furman:

The WaterWalk will begin at 9 am and continue until 4 pm starting at the Furman football practice field located next to the Eugene Stone Soccer Stadium and behind the physical activity center. Those who volunteer will walk about one mile carrying containers to select areas around campus.

The goal of the event is to raise $12,500 to match a grant that was received earlier, in order to have enough funds to complete a potable water system in a village called Esperanza San Antonio, Guatemala.

The Guatemala Soccer Extravaganza will also be taking place at the same time in Eugene Stone Stadium. Matches begin at 10 am and go until 3:30 pm. Anyone can make a team and join and many organizations, athletic teams, clubs, fraternities, sororities, faculty and staff have made teams and agreed to play. Everyone who participates receives a pledge sheet and get people to sponsor them. There will also be t-shirts for sale and those funds will go to the Guatemalan water project as well.

Be sure to stop by around 12:30 for the most anticipated match of the day when Furman’s faculty and staff will be playing one another. Who doesn’t get a kick out of watching college professors scramble around wearing their most competitive faces and trying their very hardest not to trip over their dignity :)  And when the match ends President Smolla will be addressing everyone who is at both the WaterWalk and the soccer field.

When I asked the head soccer coach, Doug Allison, why he wanted to get his team behind this project, he said, “I just wanted to see the Furman campus join together behind a great cause. When President Smolla and later Dr. Bruce Clemens approached me with the idea that we host our annual soccer extravaganza adjacent to the WaterWalk I thought it was a great idea. The past couple of years we have hosted them in order to help those who have gone through a natural disaster. I am happy to see us being able to team up with this organization for such a good cause.”

Oh, and don’t worry about getting hungry! Furman University International Students Association will be hosting an international food festival and the Furman “Paladog” hotdog stand will be close by in case anyone gets the munchies.

So grab some sunglasses and your friends and come out for a great day! We hope to see everyone there!

Jordan Sandwick

World Water Day

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International World Water Day. Yes, it sounds a little hokey… I mean there is pretty much a “day” for everything lately. But it truly is a great way to draw attention to issues that are affecting people’s lives daily.

Each year, the objective of world water day is different.This year the focus is on water and food security and helping to grow awareness of how everyone can personally help in their daily lives. Make sure to check out the website that I linked to above and see the different ways you can help, or just to learn more!

Make sure you explore the map located on the Worldwide Events page of the World Water Day website, you will be able to see all of the different events that are going to raise awareness of the food and water crisis taking place.

I was particularly pleased to see that the Water Walk that will take place here in Greenville, SC at Furman University on April 13th was there.

Look!!!

Speaking of which, be on the look out for the Water Walk registration page that I will be posting soon! In the meantime, you might want to check out this article about Dr. Peter Rogers, who was recently at Furman discussing water sustainability concerns.

-Jordan Sandwick

Oh…and just because I thought this video was good :)

For Your Enjoyment…

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The other day, like many other Furman students, I decided to take advantage of the amazing weather and grabbed my backpack so I could study outdoors. It didn’t take me long to find a perfect spot that met my requirements of green grass and sunshine and as a bonus, right next to one of Furman’s sparkling fountains. I plopped down on a blanket and began my homework. While I was sitting there, it struck me how great it is to be able to do something like that, to just sit outside and enjoy the view while I soak up some sunshine. The entire student body knows that the Furman fountains are strictly for admiration, no swimming allowed. To do so would have you hightailing it away from FUPO as fast as possible. Do you think that water is used purely for it’s aesthetic value in developing countries? I don’t. Water is a resource used with thoughtfulness and out of necessity in many places. Take these two pictures for example:

This was taken when I was studying by the water fountains at Furman.Image

This one, however, was taken in a remote village while I was on a mission trip in Nicaragua. The black plastic hose came from a stream that trickled down the side of the mountain and the hose carried the water to an open, rock cistern that was used for bathing, dishes, drinking, laundry, and other needs.

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To me the difference in usage is striking.

Here in the United States we have the luxury of having as much water as we like. About 3.9 trillion gallons of water are consumed in the United States every month (AWWA Journal, June 2006) and the average American uses 176 gallons of water per day. This number is staggering compared to the 5 gallons of water that are used by an average family in Africa each day. I’m not using these statistics to make you feel guilty, or cause you to take less showers or anything like that. I simply hope that it will make its way into your mind and prompt you to help out in whatever way you can. Whether this is through the events sponsored by Furman and the Global Issues, finding an organization that you trust to donate a few dollars to, or simply spreading the word and informing others.

To put it simply (yes, some pun intended):

Live simply that others might simply live. – Elizabeth Seaton

The Deadly Seep: How Water Kills

In June 2011 the American Water Work Association awarded the Greenville Water System was awarded the name of “Best of the Best” in a taste test for excellence. In an era in which we go to the trouble to taste test our water like fine wines, it seems unfathomable that human life is taken due to contaminated water.

The Greenville Water System supplies over 350,000 people with pure, safe, great tasting water. Yet some still seek out bottled water to look trendy or save the trouble of filling a reusable container. Meanwhile in other countries, dirty water is the cause of about 5,000 deaths a day, and almost a billion do not have a source of clean water. More children die from water related illness than from AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

Last night, after hours of studying here at Furman University, I stumbled to the nearest faucet to take on last drink before sleepily shuffling back to the room. This has become a routine for me. Meanwhile, in many developing countries, people walk more than a mile to the nearest well in order to retrieve their daily water. In fact, women spend 200 million hours per day collecting water. Chances are they won’t be wasting this precious resource on a midnight hankering.

Fortunately, in the home of the best tasting drinking water, Furman is taking the effort to seriously study and examine this issue. Over the past few months a group composed of Furman students and faculty has come together as the Global Issues Forum. Each term, GIF will take on a significant topic. This term: Water provision.

The ideas of GIF are innovative. Speakers, CLP’s and other promotions are in the works, along with a large event called a Water Walk on April 13.  The Water Walk will entail people signing up, donating money, and then walking a designated mileage. The walk will represent the distance that many people in developing nations trek everyday in order to reach a water source. All of the proceeds raised by the Water Walk will be donated directly to a foundation that provides wells to villages in South and Central America which Furman professor, Dr. Bruce Clemens, is closely associated.

But you don’t have to walk a mile at Furman to show your concern.

According to http://www.water.org, over 90 percent of deaths in the developing world occur among children under 5 years of age. The cause? Unsafe water that leads to diseases and eventual death. Many Furman students are already taking part, but GIF is hoping to see even more people become involved. So come to an event, participate in the Water Walk, or donate a little money in order to help provide those in need with clean water.

Providing purified water is one of the easiest ways to ward off infectious diseases that afflict people in developing countries. Coupled with health and hygiene education the results would be incredible. Everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of clean water.

As a place with such natural blessings, we should give, lest we look like water snobs.

- Jordan Sandwick. Senior Political Science major at Furman University.

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