Posted by: brianstrassburger | January 20, 2010

Water Awareness Day at Villanova

By Brian Strassburger, adviser to the Water for Waslala student group at Villanova University

On Wednesday, December 2nd, the Water for Waslala Student Group at Villanova University hosted “Water Awareness Day.”  The goal of the event was to draw attention to the international water crisis that affects nearly 1 billion people across the globe, including over 40,000 people in Waslala, Nicaragua.

The student group came up with several different ways to raise awareness across Villanova’s campus.  They hung signs above water fountains, in bathrooms and in cafeterias that talked about the reality of living without access to clean water.  Additionally, buckets were filled with dirty water from a local pond and placed around campus with signs referencing the fact that many people rely on this is type of water for their daily needs.

At the center of campus, the student group chalked the walkways with slogans and set up a table with the Water for Waslala banner.  Students were invited to come to the table and sign a letter to their local senator asking them to support the Water for World Act.  The Act would commit the US government to extending safe, affordable and sustainable supplies of water and sanitation to 100 million people by 2015.  Over 200 students came by to sign letters.

The student group also created a “Solidarity Tank” in order to live the day in closer solidarity with the people of Waslala.  Most Waslalans do not have water at their homes, but rather have to walk up to an hour to the nearest stream.  Students who made the Solidarity Tank Pledge committed to servicing all their water needs for the day (from washing to drinking and otherwise) from the Solidarity Tank, a jug filled with water and stationed in the center of campus. Thirty students made the pledge and walked to the tank for all their water needs, which included brushing their teeth in the morning!

Two Villanova students brush their teeth from the solidarity jug as part of Water Awareness Day at Villanova on December 2

The event culminated with a viewing of the Water for Waslala documentary.  More than 50 students attended to watch the hour-long movie produced in 2005 describing the history of Waslala and the water crisis.  At the end, Chris Lamar, who traveled to Waslala in 2009, premiered two videos developed from his trip, which highlighted the impact of Water for Waslala.  It was a hope-filled way to end the day.

The student group put forth a terrific effort to make Water Awareness Day a success. Many thanks to all who planned and participated, especially student leaders Ellen Salmi and Chelsea Mackie!  The event was a great precursor to the Walk for Water, which will be held on Sunday, April 11th at Villanova University.



  1. […] day. Follow the lead of Villanova University students, who pick a day each year to host “Water Awareness Day” on the college campus.  Participating students commit to servicing all their water needs […]

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