Flint Water Crisis inspires FGCU students to take action
FGCU students Josue Valbrun and Dieanouchaka Remy want to stop the crisis on the Flint River. The two, as members of the Haitian Student Organization, teamed up with fellow RSO No Race, No Hate to bring aid to the citizens of Flint.
The Flint Water Crisis, which has been affecting the Michigan town since April 2014, spawned from a government cost-cutting move to switch the city’s drinking water supply from Detroit to the Flint River. Due to corroded underground water pipes, Flint residents were exposed to chemical byproducts, bacteria and Leionnaires’ disease due to the high levels of lead in thewater. The city declared a state of emergency on Dec. 14, 2015 after repeatedly telling residents that the water was safe until this fall. Flint’s 99,000, predominantly black, population is relying on bottled water for its water supply.
“Away from all the politics, the number one need right now is clean, fresh water for people over there,” Valbrun said. “They need it from being able to bathe, cook their food, and of course – drink.”
The students will be holding a water draft, with a goal of collecting donations of 100 gallon jugs of water and 100 cases of bottled water to send to the people of Flint, will be taking donations beginning Feb. 3 until the 12th. Donations can be dropped off in two locations: The office of student involvement located on the second floor of the Cohen Center and the student lounge in Holmes Hall. The students are requesting that water is donated instead of cash, however, the shipping costs are coming out of the pockets of the students for now.
“More money, more problems,” Valbrun said. “We just want to collect water to ship it off, we don’t want to have to deal with the money aspect.”
A quote from FedEx puts the students paying about $750 for shipping the water to a governmentappointed drop-off location in Flint, according to Valbrun.
“It’s one thing to plan, it’s another to get that water actually out there,” Valbrun said. “This has been heavy on my mind, I’ve been looking at it a lot. There are too many kids over that getting lead poisoning, they’re saying it’s getting treated and it’s not.”
“We can help out kids in Haiti, but at the same time we are still Americans,” Valbrun said. “People need water, so lets try to get it to them.”