FHSU students sponsor water-carrying event

Are you strong enough to carry water? Between 50 and 75 people recently experienced on the Fort Hays State University Quad what many African and Asian women and children have to go through to obtain the minimum amount of water needed to survive.

Students in the Global Environmental Issues Class sponsored the two-day "Are You Strong Enough to Carry Water?"

"In the class, we look at the factors that lead to the world's environmental issues," said Dr. Greg Farley, professor of biological sciences. "Half of the class are international students. This is really good because it is important to understand that we all look at the world through different lenses. Someone from Saudi Arabia or China will view the world differently than someone from the United States."

The event aimed to raise awareness of the lack of portable water available in developing countries.

"People easily take water for granted," said Amber (Honig) Lane, Onaga senior. "This event is a creative but powerful way to remind people how nice it is to have portable water."

Participants carried 5-gallon water jugs, representing the amount of water people in developing countries carry on a daily basis, from the Memorial Union to Picken Hall -- a distance of 0.2 miles -- up the steps and back.

The United State Environmental Protection Agency estimates the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day.

The World Water Organization reports that at least 1 billion people must walk three or more hours to obtain drinking water and some can walk up to 10 hours to collect water before spending hours boiling it to make it drinkable.

"I was originally hesitant about water as a topic," said Farley. "It is a topic that is brought up every year, but what this group did was, instead of just telling us about the problem, they are having us experience the problem.

"When you think about it, a gallon of water is about 8 pounds, and if you knew that you had to walk two miles to get that water, you would be figuring out how to conserve."

"In the end, we all come out better informed," said Farley. "I learn from my students just as much as they learn from each other and me."

"I have learned how much water we use on a regular basis and how easy it is to conserve even a few gallons of water a day," said Lane.

"Are You Strong Enough to Carry Water?" coincided with Global Leadership Project's Earth Day events.

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