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Tennessee College Students Host Walk to Help Provide Clean Water for India

Today, only 1% of the earth’s water is safe for people to drink. That shocking fact proves the need for drastic change, and students from the University of Tennessee are taking steps to make a difference.

The students from UT’s Haslam College of Business hosted the second annual Hands across Water walk back in October. The school partnered with Proctor and Gamble, as well as the Maharashtra Institute of Technology in Pune, India. The 3k and 6k options of the walk collected money that is used to fund clean water initiatives in India.

The proceeds are being used to buy Proctor and Gamble purification packets that can help to rid any drinking water of bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and waste. Illness from contaminated water is the second leading cause of death around the world, but these problems are easily remedied with the right resources.

Lauren Patterson, a senior studying economics, international business, and public policy, spoke with Tennessee Today about the fundraiser.

“The goal of the project is to research, fund, and establish a sustainable model for the not-for-profit distribution of PandG’s water purification packets in rural and urban India,” said Patterson.

Patterson is a part of a 24-person group that organized this project. Nine additional students from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology traveled from India to Tennessee for the event as well.

Those participating in the walk have the option to either walk with or without multi-gallon water jugs. This additional twist is designed to help participants understand just how far many people have to walk just to obtain clean drinking water for their family. The length of the walk, either the 3k or 6k, is done to emulate what thousands of Indian women have to do on a daily basis just to get clean water.

The fundraiser’s goal is to create 1.5 million liters of clean drinking water. Each dollar raised is worth 100 liters of clean water for families and children.

Last year, the walk brought in more than 150 participants and almost $8,000. Jessyca Ford, a junior studying human resource management and another member of the event team, had this to say about the project:

“It is important for the people in India to know the importance of clean drinking water as well as the impact of the packets on women and children,” Ford said. “Ultimately these packets enable children to go to school and learn, while the women are able to make a better life for their families by working because they don’t have to make the strenuous trek to get clean water.”

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