In recognizing the severity of the water challenges in Flint, Michigan, Shawnee State University (SSU) has organized a water drive.
According to promotional material for the event, for two years, a threat has been imposed upon residents (of Flint, Michigan) and is now in the forefront of the nation’s attention. Unhealthy drinking water has plagued the community by disrupting the health and livelihood of thousands of people.
“They’ve (residents of Flint, Michigan) been dealing with this issue since April of 2014. The water has killed 10 people and over 8,000 people have been hospitalized. There has been reports, it may take up to 15 years and millions of dollars (to correct),” said Justin McMillan, Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs and Student Life.
He said the water collection has turned into a service project for students.
McMillan said when the idea of holding a collection was first proposed there was no hesitation to get involved.
“There was no hesitation, because this issue could happen to any city. If this happened in Portsmouth, Ohio we would love for people to help us out. This did not happen in Portsmouth, but it’s happening in another community, so why not help out and do everything we can,” McMillan said.
McMillian said people will be on hand throughout the event to collect donations. He said donations of disinfecting wipes and water filters. He said some people have made monetary donations will also be accepted.
“We would love for the community take part in this,” McMillian said.
After the event is over the donations will be loaded into a rented truck and driven to Flint, Michigan.
He said this event has the potential to make a big impact to the residents of Flint.
“I’ve talked to a few students who are being offered community service hours through a class. If each of those students donated three cases of water, we would have 105 cases,” McMillan said.
He said the organization of the event is student driven. Student organizations participating include, Student Government Association, Student Programming Board, AHANA, Division of Student Affairs and Fraternity and Sorority Life.
When asked about expectations for the event, McMillian said, “we want to fill the truck with donations.”
He said if donations exceed expectations another trip will be made to Flint.
“I feel this is something that can strengthen the bond of the campus community and the community of Portsmouth, by coming together to help another community in need,” McMillan said.
The collection will take place on February 18 at the University Center Parking Lot on the campus of SSU from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
For more information about the event McMillian can be reached at 740-351-3553.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.