Walk for Water uses jerry cans exercises to raise awareness

Spending Sunday afternoon lugging two hefty water containers around campus is not exactly the preferred way to spend the last day of the weekend. Yet participants in EcoHouse's third annual Walk for Water alternated towing the vessels behind them throughout campus on Sunday Oct. 27.

Known as jerry cans, the water containers were the centerpiece of activism for the event.

“Jerry cans are what women in developing nations use to carry their water from their water source back to their homes,” Putnam Hall Council President and Geneseo Environmental Organization co-liason sophomore Jason Phillips said. “When you fill them up them up they weigh 40 to 50 pounds.”

According to Phillips, women around the world must carry these vessels for hours each day, just to provide stagnant water for themselves and their families to survive.

“People couldn't even carry the jerry can for 10 minutes,” he said. “Just imagine doing it for eight hours every single day.”

Prior to the walk, environmental enthusiasts gathered at the KnightSpot, grabbed a snack and listened to performers including Geneseo student band OK Artichoke, setting the hopeful tone for the rest of the event.

The walk was aimed at fundraising for charity: water, a nonprofit organization that supports developing nations build fresh water wells where there is lack of access to the resource.

Fundraising began in mid-September when Putnam's Hall Council reached out to Main Street businesses to put out collection jars. According to Phillips, the group collected about $57.

In reaching out to the community for participation in the event, Phillips turned to GEO and the Greek community, among others.

GEO is an organization dedicated to promoting on-campus sustainability projects. In previous years, senior Jen Benson helped forge a connection between Putnam's Hall Council and GEO through her positions as Hall Council president and GEO president, according to Phillips.

“With this kind of an issue, it's important that we make as much of an impact as we can,” he said. “I think the issue at hand was really that this crisis isn't something that directly affects us. Something like building wells in Africa or India is not something we get to see, so we aren't really affected by it … spreading awareness is a little harder in that way.”