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Howard Hall hosts annual 24-hour teeter-totter marathon for a cause

| Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thursday through Friday evening, Howard Hall residents and passers-by will seesaw for 24 hours straight on a giant blue teeter-totter in the middle of South Quad to raise money for Engineers Without Borders’ clean water initiatives. The event, known as “Totter for Water,” has long been the Howard Ducks’ most popular fundraiser.

“Totter for Water is Howard’s signature event,” Howard Hall president Clare Brown, a junior sociology and peace studies major, said. “This year, we’re starting Thursday at 6 p.m., and we’re going till 6 pm on Friday. [Howard girls] do 30-minute shifts throughout the entirety of that time period.”

Event commissioner Anna Haigh added that this is done to ensure the totter is ridden by two people for the entire duration of the 24-hour period. However, anyone — including students, faculty, staff and visitors — can take their turn on the totter.

Courtesy of Elizabeth D’sa
The Howard Duck teeters on the totter on South Quad in 2019.

“When people are walking around campus, they [can] stop at the totter,” she said. “They can stay on it for however long they want, they don’t have to stay on it for 30 minutes. They just have to pay $2.00 to go on it, and the $2.00 is donated to Engineers Without Borders.”

Haigh, a junior chemical engineering major, has been a member of Engineers Without Borders since her freshman year. She said “Totter for Water” presented the perfect opportunity to get more involved in Howard while further supporting the cause she already works on each week.

“Engineers Without Borders is an organization with a bunch of chapters at universities all over the country,” she explained. “But the main idea is that we partner with the community in an underdeveloped or under-resourced area. Our community partner is San Pedro de Suma in Ecuador.”

In recent years, the Notre Dame chapter has visited the San Pedro de Suma community, building water fluoridation systems and infrastructure for their school. With the funds raised from “Totter for Water,” the chapter hopes to return to Ecuador to evaluate and monitor their existing projects as well as plan future projects by identifying community needs.

“It’s definitely a great cause,” junior Liz D’sa, Haigh’s fellow event commissioner, said. “This year, I especially wanted to get a little bit more involved in Howard in super positive way. Engineers Without Borders is such a great cause, so this seems very fitting for what I wanted to do.”

Brown said this year’s fundraising goal is $25,000.

Three years ago, we made like $18,000,” she said. “Last year, we didn’t make as much because of COVID. We’re really hoping to make it up this year so that San Pedro de Suma isn’t affected by [last year’s] deficit.” 

She attributed last year’s low numbers to the COVID-19 campus visitor restrictions in place at the time.

“We make a lot of money because we have it on a gameday weekend, and so there’s a lot of kids and families and alumni that all stop and donate and ride the totter,” she said. “No one was on campus last year … so we didn’t get as much interaction with Totter.”

For this reason, Brown looks forward to the return of gameday energy to campus. 

“Totter is always so much fun, and it’ll be a much more robust campus environment this year as opposed to last year. Hopefully a lot of people stop by,” she said. “Fr. Pete is stopping by on Thursday, so that’s exciting. And in terms of other stuff, I mean, we’re gonna have Krispy Kreme donuts on Friday morning.”

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