The 2 mile, 40 minute walk from Boston College's Newton and Main campuses isn't terribly difficult, though at this time of year it's hardly pleasant. But what if you had to make a trek that long just to get water? That's the plight experienced by millions of students around the world, and some Boston College freshmen are trying to change it.
The freshmen have instituted the BC Walk For Water, a group that raises awareness of the world's water plight by having students walk from their dorms on Newton campus to the Main campus every morning - the same distance students at the Longa Secondary School in Tanzania have to walk every day to get water. The students will solicit pledges and donations to raise $2500 to build a clean water system for the school, according to one of the organizers, Chris Olmanson.
"We won't start the walks until next week, but we've already raised around $800," said Olmanson, an undeclared student considering majors in international studies and theology. "We've gotten a lot of support. It's great."
About 40 students have already pledged to take part in the morning walks, which will leave from Newton campus at 7 and 8 a.m. for ten days, beginning next Monday. Each participant will also try to raise $40 from friends and family.
The money will be donated to H2O For Life, an international nonprofit organization that build distribution systems to serve the millions of people across the world without access to clean water.
"It's remarkable how many people aren't even aware of the scale of the world's water crisis," Olmanson said. "We've had lots of people come up to us and say they had no idea how widespread this was."
The group's website contains statistics about the world's water crisis, as well as pages where students and community supporters can donate to the cause. The group is being supported by the Boston College Volunteer and Service Learning Center, which is also providing posters and fliers.
"When I brought the idea to them, they said for everyone to be careful, but they've been very supportive," Olmanson said.
Olmanson said he had been involved with H20 For Life since doing a fundraising project for the group in the eleventh grade back in his native Minnesota. After arriving at Boston College, he began talking about the water crisis with his friends Du Park, Kelsey Stuart, and Jon Geary. The four worked together to get the group started and will be leading the walks.
Olmanson said he would love to continue the event year after year, but there's one wrinkle; only freshman live on the school's Newton campus.
"Our ideal would be to find some interested freshmen next year and help them set it up, so it can continue on," Olmanson said. "It's a very important issue."
Sarah Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.