Howard Hall hosts annual Totter for Water
Jackson Oxler | Thursday, September 26, 2019
New students on campus might wonder why there will be a teeter totter in the middle of South Quad on Thursday and Friday. Each fall, the women of Howard Hall spend 24 hours riding the totter to help raise money for projects dedicated to clean water access in communities across the globe as part of the dorm’s annual Totter for Water event.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, Howard’s residents will begin taking shifts operating the totter and continue their work throughout the night. Students will have the opportunity to ride the totter if they desire and are encouraged to help Howard in their fundraising goals. This year, sophomores Eileen Leach and Sarah Walters are planning the event.
Leach and Walters said the dorm is hoping to raise $25,000 at this year’s event — about $7,000 more than last year. To accomplish such a task, they began the planning process before they arrived to campus.
“Sarah and I have been working on the project for several weeks now, we contacted the organization, made t-shirt designs and poster designs,” Leach said.
Students working on the event attempt to involve all members of the Notre Dame community. The money Howard fundraises comes from student donations on the day of the event, from both online donations and from selling succulents on South Quad. Anyone interested in donating can give to the cause on the Student Shop ND website.
There will also be other forms of entertainment on Thursday night, Leach said.
“This year we are having a bouncy house on Thursday as well,” she said.
Leach explained that all of the money Howard raises from the event this year will benefit a community in Ecuador.
“In the past the money has gone to build wells or develop water systems for schools,” she said. “We have worked with Engineers without Borders in the past and that’s also who we’re working with this year — the Notre Dame chapter. They are going to be traveling to San Pedro de Suma, Ecuador, to build a water chlorination system, specifically for a school in the region.”
Sophomore Catherine Connell said she participated last year after noticing the presence of a seesaw on the quad.
“I saw a teeter totter on South Quad, so some friends and I went to see what was going on,” she said. “We ended up riding the totter and buying succulents. It was a fun opportunity to break from studying and also help a good cause.”
Alix Basden, a Howard sophomore who said she will be riding the totter at midnight, said the event helps the dorm grow in community.
“Howard is the single most intentional community I have ever been a part of,” she said. “It is a strong sisterhood. [With Totter], we create an international community and partnership.”
For instance, last year Basden shared her totter shift with someone she didn’t know particularly well at the time. Now, that situation has changed.
“It’s pure fun to be out on that seesaw,” Basden said. “Last year, I did the 1 a.m. shift. I went to the Totter with a girl I wasn’t that close with at the time, and we rode the Totter for 30 minutes together. Now she’s my roommate.”