Running water is a privilege that most people have a tendency to take for granted… in North America, that is. Canada has such a large supply of fresh water that Canadians don’t really need to think about water on a daily basis. In other countries, however, having access to a glass of water is not as simple.
More than twenty students volunteered during this month’s first Universal Break, to raise awareness about the daily water crises that occur in a majority of underdeveloped countries (most notably Sudan and South Africa). These two dozen sustainability activists held kiosks all over the college – in the Rotunda, the Carrefour, Jakes’, as well as in the N-building. The event focused on the concept of #WaterMatters, bringing Vanier community members to reflect on their daily usage of water, and on how different their lives would be if they couldn’t merely turn on the tap. The main goal was to provide students with a peek into the effort it requires for many to get water from one place to another. Thus, each kiosk was a distinct station which students could participate in relay. To earn their special edition VCSA water bottle, participants carried full jerry cans from one checkpoint to another, and upon completion of their walk, they were challenged to ask a stranger or an acquaintance to continue the cycle.
Those who preferred to not take part in the relay, tested their knowledge by taking a quiz, on which they had to score at least three out of six to be allowed to spin the wheel and win a prize – ranging from Old Spice, to a hug, to a VCSA scarf or hat, with many others in between. The questions aimed to inform students about the issues revolving around access to clean water. While taking the quiz, one could learn, for example, that when water is hard to come by in African countries, it’s often because that resource is found hundreds of meters underground, making it difficult to extract.
Under the supervision of Richard Dugas, Vanier’s Sustainability Officer, volunteers suggested simple lifestyle changes that can reduce water use, and keep non-polluted bodies of water as they are. Consuming less meat is a way of cutting back on water usage, as many liters are necessary for the production process and packaging of animal products. Also, limiting shower time – even by only a minute – makes a difference as well. Quite similarly to how every penny or nickel counts when saving money, every drop counts when saving water!
Written By: Katherine Willcocks
Originally Published: February 2016