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Keeping it fresh

Almost 1 billion people in our world don’t have access to clean water. That’s roughly one in every nine people. In the United States, alongside other developed countries, even toilets have clean water.

In 2006, Scott Harrison founded the nonprofit organization charity: water. Living a lavish party life in New York City, Scott was looking for spiritual fulfillment in his life. After taking a trip to West Africa and seeing the poverty — specifically the lack of access to clean water — he decided to do something about it.

Here at Florida Gulf Coast University, a group of five students have also decided to do something about it. Community health majors Josh Ziner, Amanda Ripley, Corrine Fournier, Kristina Runyan and Zach Rieder, also known as J.A.C.K.Z, were assigned charity: water as the organization for which to raise money in their Management of Non-Profit Agencies class. Given no specific dollar amount to raise, the group decided they wanted to try to raise $6,000, which is the amount needed to install a well that can provide an entire village with clean water.

“We figured, if we’re going to do it, might as well go big,” said Fournier, a senior.

According to charity: water’s website, women and children in many parts of the world, mainly sub- Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, travel something to the tune of three hours a day just to collect dirty water to drink. This dirty water, contaminated with bacteria, can cause diarrhea, dehydration and possibly death. Every 19 seconds a baby dies from a water-related cause. Just $20 can provide one person with access to clean drinking water.

“Water changes everything,” a charity: water spokesperson says in a three-minute video available on J.A.C.K.Z’s webpage: http://my.charitywater.org/ jackz-water-worksfgcu-1. The wells that charity: water builds provide whole villages with access to clean water.

Access to clean water means less sickness, which means more healthy children who can go to school and learn how to read and write instead of spending their days walking through rough, hot landscapes for hours just to bring back dirty water for their families. Access to clean water frees up women’s time from making those same trips, enabling them to make money to provide better for their families or to educate themselves. Access to clean water would mean fewer deaths. It would mean a chance at life.

What started as just an assignment in a class has become a labor of passion for J.A.C.K.Z.

“We want to get FGCU involved. If we could fund the building of a well, it would put FGCU on the map, especially with how eco-friendly of a school we are. It would be great,” Fournier said enthusiastically, “if every student donated $1 or could even just give the change in their pockets, it would be huge.” If every student at FGCU actually donated just $1, two wells could be built.

Over spring break, Fournier went to the Faith Viera Lutheran Preschool in Viera, FL to teach 60 pre-schoolers the importance of clean water. Together they created an activity to make water dirty, using a filtration system, to make it clean again. For the month of March, the children chose to donate money from their piggy banks, do chores to raise money and give up luxuries like McDonald’s dinners to donate to charity: water instead. They raised $200.

While thinking of ways to fundraise, J.A.C.K.Z member Ripley came up with the idea to auction a dirty bottle of water for $1000. This idea caused a stir of excitement in the Southwest Florida news community and, so far, J.A.C.K.Z has been featured on WINK news, the News-Press, and the Corridor, a local Southwest Florida publication.

On Tuesday, April 15, look for the TOMS club and J.A.C.K.Z on the library lawn from 9-4 raffling off TOMS merchandise and collecting change for charity: water. TOMS and charity: water are supporters of each other. TOMS club president Alison Johnson is teaming up with J.A.C.K.Z to support their cause while promoting awareness for TOMS’ A Day Without Shoes, which is a day when TOMS asks people to go a day without wearing shoes to know how those around the world live without daily.

The deadline to raise the $6,000 is May 5. So far, they have raised $1,240, which is enough money for 62 people to gain access to clean water. There are several more ways to get involved with J.A.C.K.Z to support its cause:

The donation site is: http://my.charitywater.org/ jackz-water-worksfgcu-1 where any donation amount can be made. If a group raises money, they can write a comment to denote that the money was raised by more than one person.

Teachers should: contact Corrine Fournier at cafournier4452@eagle.fgcu.edu for an empty milk jug or 2-liter bottle to be used to collect change in your classes.

Drop by J.A.C.K.Z’s Management of Non-Profit Agencies class on: Mondays 5 – 7:45 p.m. in Marieb 214.

Drop by colloquium professor Neubek’s office in Library 464-C at any time. Envelopes are in a box outside the door. Slide the envelope under the door.

Write a check to charity: water with MYCW- 50370-182933 written in the memo line and mail it to charity: water, 200 Varick St. Ste. 201, New York, NY 10014

Bid on the $1,000 bottle of dirty water: http://m. ebay.com/itm?itemId=251443965099&roken=mK3csc All donations are tax-deductible and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the charity: water.

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