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Water-only campaign draws student ministry

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 01:10

Water — a basic necessity to sustain life — is something that the majority of people are fortunate enough to have access to on a daily basis. Yet, 783 million people around the world go without clean water every day.

The Wells Project at Texas A&M encourages students to do something to change this statistic and end the global crisis.

The Wells Project is a student organization with a sole purpose to provide a source of clean drinking water to people who lack access to such necessities. It is a group of 109 students who work with Living Water International, who share the same goal as The Wells Project.

Both organizations are faith-based, non-profit organizations whose mission is to accommodate safe drinking water effectively and efficiently to developing countries. A&M’s branch of The Wells Project mainly funds the drilling of water wells in the African country of Rwanda.

In the efforts to raise money for the extensive project, The Wells Project is putting on the 10 Days campaign. Beginning Oct. 10, The Wells Project is asking students and faculty to join them in fasting any drink that is not water for 10 days. The group is asking participants to donate whatever money they would have spent on coffee, soda, energy drinks or any other non-water beverages to the campaign.

Conor Barry, sophomore English major and member of The Wells Project, said even the smallest donation could make the difference with helping with the global water crisis.

“A one dollar donation gives a person access to clean water for an entire year,” Barry said. “Let’s say you donate $10 during the 10 days, that is either 10 people that have water for a year or one person that has clean water for 10 years. It is just cool when you can actually think of that impact that you are having.”

These 10 days are dedicated to drinking water, but The Wells Project will be having several events to encourage participants to keep up the commitment they made. On Oct. 14 they are holding a profit share at Yogurtland from 6-9 p.m. Here they are inviting anyone to come get yogurt, temporary tattoos and make donations at the halfway point of the campaign.

On Oct. 19 and 22, The Wells Project will have donation stations at Wehner, the Commons, Rudder Fountain and Sbisa.

Julie Brown, junior interdisciplinary studies major and campus director of The Wells Project, said it is one of the easiest campaigns for college students to partake and is encouraging everyone to participate.

“It isn’t asking you to give outside your normal budget,” Brown said. “If you think about how much you spend on cokes or Starbucks and consider that one dollar can provide clean water for someone for a year, then 10 days of water is worth it.”

In order to make it easier for participants to follow up and commit with donating, there is a free smartphone app called 10 Days. The app calculates how much someone would personally spend on beverages and that is how much they are asking people to pledge to donate at the end the 10-day period. The app also tells how much the school has pledged, the number of participants, drinks given up and the people who will be benefited from the donations.

Will Whitehill, senior accounting major and president of The Wells Project, said the main goal of both organizations is to drill as many clean, safe, drinking-water wells around the world, but with an underlying message that is equally important to both groups.

It is more than just donations Whitehill said, but missionary work as well.

“We are an organization, working with Living Water International, to drill clean water wells around the world in the name of Jesus Christ,” Whitehill said. “ We are passionate about ending the global water crisis, and also sharing the [Christian] Gospel, teaching people about Jesus’ salvation.”

The Wells Project started at Texas A&M five years ago. It started with a group of students with a poster board and a fish bowl for donations who wanted to help the global water crisis. It has now grown into what it is today because of the Aggie community, a partnership with LWI and 20 Wells Project chapters around the nation.

Last year, over 2,000 people participated in the 10 Days campaign from over 42 different schools. This year they are hoping for at least 2,500 participants and have already bypassed the number of schools that participated last year, with 90 schools involved.

Texas A&M has raised $20,000 in previous years, but hopes to exceed that number this year and make an even bigger impact. The Wells Project stresses that it is easy to make a difference and even the smallest donation matters. Whitehill said people at Texas A&M are compassionate enough and would want to help if they knew how simple it was.

“At Texas A&M there are 50,000 students and if every student could just give a dollar we would be able to provide 50,000 people with clean water for an entire year or we could be able to drill five clean water wells in Rwanda,” Whitehill said. “A lot of people just don’t know how simple the solution is and how much of a difference they can make with a small donation of a dollar. I wish everyone knew that just a dollar could change or save someone’s life.”


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