Students aim to pour money into global water crisis
By Karen Fernau
GCU News Bureau
Swear off coffee, soda and sports drinks for two weeks.
Drink only water and donate the money saved to The Water Project to help support Grand Canyon University’s first global awareness campaign on water.
That’s what GO Nights, a five-student GCU global outreach team, is asking during its January push to raise money for clean, safe water in developing countries.
“We take water for granted, but that’s not so in other parts of the world where water is scarce, dirty and deadly,” said Karlie Gibson, a junior nursing major and GO Nights team member.
Unsafe water is the leading cause of disease and death around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
GO Nights’ safe water campaign is being run in conjunction with The Water Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing sustainable, safe water to communities in sub-Sahara Africa.
The Water Project calculates that drinking only water for two weeks saves about $23, the cost of providing drinkable water to one person for a year.
GO Nights will be recruiting volunteers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays in January on the Promenade to help raise awareness and to encourage students, staff and faculty to pledge to take the water challenge. Participants will receive an awareness-building bracelet.
Those who participate in the two-week water pledge are asked to donate their money on thewaterproject.com.
According to Maggie Ciscomani, GCU’s global outreach coordinator, the water project is part of a larger goal to create global awareness on issues such as sex trafficking or the Middle Eastern refugee crisis.
“We want our students to be a force of global change to bring not only awareness to our students about these global issues but also tangible opportunities to be involved,” she said.
On Fridays, Gibson and GO Nights team members Marissa Canez, Alanah True-Silva, Chyann Schiewek and Evan Flentge also will share vital statistics from The Water Project about the shortage and unsafe drinking water.
- Nearly one of every five deaths under the age of five worldwide is blamed on a water-related disease.
- Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with patients suffering from a water-related disease.
- 319 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are without access to reliable drinking water.
- Nearly 80 percent of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
GO Nights selected safe water as its January theme because “it’s the basic necessity,” Gibson said.
“Water is so accessible to us. We get free glasses with meals and drinking fountains are everywhere, but we need to be aware that in other parts of the world water is dirty and filled with harmful parasites.”
Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.