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Students raise funds for clean water

Marisa Iati | Monday, October 10, 2011

The women of Howard Hall raised close to $3,500 for The Water Project, a non-profit organization that provides distressed communities with access to clean water, during the third annual Totter for Water on Thursday and Friday.

From 5 p.m. Thursday until 5 p.m. Friday, participants teeter-tottered for half-hour shifts on South Quad in order to solicit donations to build a well in Africa.

“We have girls out there all 24 hours signed up to take shifts,” sophomore and Howard Hall president Claire Robinson said. “It brings attention to [the fundraiser], and we ask that people donate in order to totter. It’s kind of an attraction.”

People also donated online, sophomore Sarah Cahalan, one of Howard Hall’s service commissioners, said. Online donations made before the event accounted for almost $2,700 of Totter for Water’s total proceeds.

Approximately 90 Howard residents and 50 others participated in Totter for Water over the course of 48 shifts, Cahalan said.

Robinson said she was impressed with the number of people that stopped by the event.

“I even went out there at 4:30 in the morning and we had people out there,” she said.

Howard Hall hosted African-themed events last week to prepare for Totter for Water, Robinson said.

“We had African Mass [and] a speaker come talk to us about his work with the wells,” she said. “Then we also had African desserts and a water documentary, and finally we had a little kick-off party with the dorm mascot.”

The speaker, Stephen Silliman, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences, spoke to Howard Hall residents Monday about his experience building wells in Benin, Cahalan said.

Robinson said Silliman’s talk caused her and the service commissioners to consider donating Totter for Water’s proceeds to a nation in western Africa, but they did not decide what specific country or village the donations will benefit yet.

“Previously, we have designated which village or country we want the well built for, but we haven’t made the decision yet this year,” Robinson said. “I think we’re going to try to establish ourselves within the community and donate to the same well every year, but I honestly don’t know.”

Robinson and Cahalan said the event raised more money this year than in past years.

“The past two years that we’ve done it [the fundraiser] made about $1,000 online, and we made $2,693 [this year], so that was really exciting,” Cahalan said. “Lots of people were coming by and interested in what we were doing.”