Hydration challenge

Richard Kelly

Students across campus are being challenged to do for two weeks what many probably would have difficulty doing for a single day – drink nothing but water.

The Catholic Campus Center has teamed up with Campus Ministry for a second year to sponsor the H2O Project, which is open to all campus students and faculty. Water bottles will be provided for the first 100 to 150 attendees. The basic rules of the project entail that from Feb. 25 through March 12, the contestants are to drink only water. No coffee, tea or any other beverage can be consumed during that time.

When the project is over, the estimated money that will have been saved from not drinking alternative beverages is encouraged to be donated to the program, where 100 percent of all donations will go toward drilling drinking water wells in developing nations. The idea is to help raise awareness about the global water crisis and encourage who live in an environment with clean water to be thankful.

“The reason it has been intriguing is that for Catholics and other Christians during Lent, which will begin on As Wednesday this year, is that part of it is to give something up and what better thing to give up for two weeks,” said Patti Lyon, director and campus minister for the Catholic Campus Center. “Your pop, your orange juice, your beer or whatever you’re drinking, to set that aside and give to someone who doesn’t even have water is really exciting.”

The H2O Project chooses organizations that work toward drilling wells in underprivileged areas around the world. Ten different organizations are available to drill wells. The organization “Lifewater International” was chosen to drill wells for Washburn donators. According to its Web site, it works specifically in Asia, west and east Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Lyon holds out hope that at least 150 students and faculty will participate in the project. With each donation, more wells can be supplied to each struggling country.

“To get that many students on campus involved, that would be pretty exciting,” said Lyon. “I think the Washburn students are pretty giving.”

Lyon also hopes that, eventually, the project will outgrow Washburn to become a community-wide project.

The H2O Project is designed to teach participants to abstain from soft drinks and other beverages that are often desired but not needed. Lyon hopes participants will gain a better understanding about what is truly important in life at the end of those two weeks.

“I think fasting like that does change your mind set,” she said. “For example, I chose to give up pop. Oct. 31 was the last time I had it. Every time I go to think how I want it, I tell myself ‘no, I’m not going to do that.’ I think it strengthens your character and helps you develop your virtues. I think it also helps you realize what you do need and what you don’t need and the difference between needs and wants.”

Tables will be set up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 23, 24 and 26 in the Memorial Union for more information if interested.