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The Daily Tar Heel

Students collect excess water to donate after weekend shortage

The Student Recreation Center is collecting water to be donated to Flint, Michigan.
The Student Recreation Center is collecting water to be donated to Flint, Michigan.

Students and organizations are collecting the unused water bought during the crisis to donate to people in need.

Isabella Sabato, a senior who works at Campus Recreation, said she was inspired to do something good with the leftover water she bought in response to the shortage.

“I got back on Sunday, and I sat at my table and looked at all my cases of water,” Sabato said.

“I decided Sunday after the water crisis that I wanted to get rid of my water, and I texted a couple of friends to see if they would be down to donate theirs. I talked to my boss at Campus Rec, Tori Hooker, to see if we could put up a collection in the storage room.”

Hooker, senior assistant director of sport programs at Campus Recreation, said she was completely on board with Sabato’s idea.

“Her thoughts, and I definitely agree, were that the community could empathize a little bit more with some of the communities that have been in need for much longer than two days,” Hooker said. “We want to be a vehicle for our students’ activism.”

Hooker said they are also accepting donations of water filtration systems. She said the systems generally cost $15.

Campus Recreation has set up water collection stations at the Student Recreation Center and Rams Head Recreation Center. Students can bring unopened water containers to these locations to help out the cause.

“Honestly, I didn’t think we would get half as much support as we’ve gotten,” Sabato said. “I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve always wanted to, but I’ve never really known how to get involved. I think a lot of people on campus are like that, and in the world.”

Sabato isn’t the only one feeling generous.

Junior Shilpa Kancharla, a member of UNC Monsoon, said she didn’t stay in town the entire weekend during the water crisis, but she also felt motivated to do something when the shortage ended. Monsoon is an organization that aims to combat misrepresentation and underrepresentation of South Asian people and spread awareness of South Asian culture.

“The few hours I was here, I would go to the tap or the water fountain or the bathroom and be like, ‘Oh, wait, I can’t use these things,’” Kancharla said. “I realized that my inconvenience being in Chapel Hill was only for a couple hours, but I knew how agitated I felt personally and how privileged I am to have water and take it for granted every day,”

Kancharla said Monsoon is accepting unopened cases and commercially sealed gallon jugs of water on Thursday in the Pit.

Both Sabato and Kancharla were hoping to get the water to Flint, Michigan, but transportation costs may get in the way.

“If not Flint, maybe we can send some to other places in North Carolina that have been affected by Hurricane Matthew,” Kancharla said.

Sabato said they are open to suggestions about where to donate the water.

“If people want to contact us and give us their ideas, we could look into a wide variety of options,” Sabato said.

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