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ND water initiative ends with showing

Sam Stryker | Monday, April 26, 2010

With this Saturday’s showing of the documentary film “One Water,” student government’s Global Water Initiative culminated a year-long series of events and fundraisers aimed towards addressing the world’s clean water crisis.

According to the Global Water Initiative’s final report, 2.5 billion people all over the world live without adequate sanitation. In addition, one in six persons on earth lives without access to potable water.

Former student body vice president Cynthia Weber believes the project achieved a lot in its year of existence.

“I think that it was successful on two fronts: raising awareness on a fixable issue

somewhere else in the world and also using Notre Dame resources to do so,” she said. “Not only was it our goal to help fix wells, but also to educate the campus.”

Throughout the course of the year, various service organizations have put on a number of events to both raise awareness of the issue and collect funds to be donated to the non-profit Water Project, the partner organization to Notre Dame’s Global Water Initiative. In total, at least $4,464 will be donated to the Water Project, which provides sustainable, safe water by fixing broken wells in the African nation of Sierra Leone.

Rachel Roseberry, co-director of the Global Water Initiative along with Justin Pham, said that the program, the first of its kind for Notre Dame, was a great achievement for the campus.

“I think that it is important that Student Government showed this year that it can focus on a single service initiative for the entire year,” she said. “It’s a pretty unique model that hadn’t been done before.”

In addition to fundraisers put on by student organizations, members and organizations of Notre Dame’s academic community such as the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity at the Kellogg Institute helped educate students on the issue of the global water crisis.

Weber said having widespread campus participation strengthened student bonds over the course of the school year.

“Groups on campus that normally didn’t connect were brought together so it helped build our community as well as helping the world,” she said.

Roseberry mentioned two events in particular that stood out in terms of raising awareness and funding for the global water crisis, in addition to demonstrating Notre Dame’s sense of community giving.

“Howard Hall’s ‘Totter for Water’ was a fantastic event that raised over $2,000,” she said. “The Benefit CD in February with 18 student artists was another way the Notre Dame community came together to raise money for the world’s clean water crisis.”

Weber said while the Global Water Initiative was coming to a close with the end of last year’s Student Government term, the Notre Dame campus should expect a similar program after the success of this year’s series of events and fundraisers.

“This particular initiative won’t be continued but something similar to it will be next year,” she said.