The shimmering sun beats down on the back of a woman faced with the grueling task of hiking three miles in intense heat—all to fill up a five-gallon tank with dirty water.
“I Drink Dirty Water,” which will be held Thursday, Nov. 15 in the Humanities Quad from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is meant to raise awareness of those living in less fortunate conditions.
“I Drink Dirty Water” was co-organized by Prolific PR, a group of six public relations students on campus, and With This Ring, a non-profit organization that helps build clean water wells in third world nations to put on the event.
Ali Eastburn, founder and executive director of With This Ring, started the non-profit as a way to help those in need. With This Ring takes donations both monetarily and in the form of jewelry such as wedding rings, and uses the proceeds to help build wells in third world countries. For Eastburn, the idea all started while away on a women’s retreat.
“A question was asked on how we can change the world around us. I just remember looking around the room thinking we have so much money and so much stuff,” said Eastburn. “If we sold some of our stuff, what could we do to change the lives of people around the world?”
Eastburn glanced down at her wedding ring—and thought of how many people she could help using the money from one ring alone.
“The next day I called my husband and asked, what do you think if I sold my wedding ring?” Eastburn said. “He was floored, but also very supportive.”
News of the idea spread, and before long Eastburn started With This Ring in 2006.
“We have since then, in the last six years received close to 2,000 wedding rings and pieces of jewelry. We also receive gold and monetary donations,” Eastburn said.
Prolific PR contacted Eastburn to collaborate and put on the event on campus, which will feature information booths, games and live entertainment this Thursday.
Michelle Church, director of media relations for Prolific PR, said bottles of “dirty” water with informational labels on them will be handed out to help raise awareness.
“The whole idea is to create a shock element where these students will walk around with these water bottles and other students will say why are you drinking dirty water. We hope that students will start asking questions and seeking information about the non-profit, to raise awareness,” Church said.
The event will also feature “jerry can races,” which will demonstrate to students what those in India have to endure on a daily basis, said Mallory Bowles, creative director of Prolific PR.
“In India, they have to walk at least three miles one way to get water, which is terribly dirty, then walk back with it. That’s 40 pounds once it’s filled up. So we’re having people see somewhat how it’s like,” Bowles said.
Still the Sky’s Limit will provide live music from noon to 1 p.m., and the Geography Club will also have a table in the Humanities Quad at the same time, Church said.
Eastburn said With This Ring currently has the goal of raising $50,000, which will be matched by Living Water International, the company who drills the wells.
The resulting $100,000 will be enough to create 20 wells in India.
“Here’s the most shocking thing that I found out. Twenty dollars can give one child water for 20 years or more. Twenty dollars alone can save that child, so even a wedding ring that’s only worth $100 can save five kids,” Eastburn said.
Students can choose to make donations at the event itself Thursday or online at anytime. A Facebook page, “I Drink Dirty Water,” has been created as well, Bowles said.
“It’s hard until you actually see it, but being somewhat aware of the water crisis kind of brings people to realize how great we have it here,” Bowles said. “Awareness, support and even donating is what we would love.”