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The Northerner

Introducing “Campus Climate”

Jennifer Lantz

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The Northerner thanks you for reading this new regular feature on our web site. In the months soon to come, you will be noticing many changes that will improve your reading experience of our paper online. Here is a great sneak-peek of a soon-to-be blog that will be hosted on our site. We hope you enjoy it, and thanks once again for reading.

To learn more about the upcoming changes to our online venue, please click here, or see the “New in the News” link on the left-hand navigation bar.

Welcome!

Welcome to the “Campus Climate.” Please stay tuned for activities and news, both local and international, concerning your environment. If you would like to garner support for your green initiatives or you have heard of some great “Go Green” stories to be reported please let me know so we can get it in the news! Let’s get started by reviewing some of the accomplishments that have been made known to me during summer break.

Who’s Who

A recent UNESCO report said that approximately 1.1 billion people do not have access to sufficient water supplies while water use by the remaining population grows at twice the rate as does the world’s population. In an effort to help provide a sterile water supplies a group of Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) students in coordination with Edge Outreach raised money through friends, family and church to journey south from July 1 through July 12 for the Dominican Republic. For nearly two weeks they spent time building water purification systems and relationships with the people in the barrios of Santo Domingo, the country’s capital of over two million people.

Tony Cobb, Kim Gough and Jenny Tremblay were the three missionaries sent from the BCM to install two water purification systems commonly known as the “McGuire system”, named for Byron McGuire who founded New Life International. New Life International is a nonprofit Christian outreach organization that helps to provide safe drinking water to the world. New Life was created in the late 1970’s in southern Indiana by the late Byron McGuire and his wife. During their journeys in South America and their son’s near death experience, they were inspired to clean up water supplies with both an affordable and simple method which led to the creation of the McGuire system. In short, it uses a 12 volt battery and common table salt to chlorinate the water and can be used “in harsh environmental conditions with minimal resources”. To find out more about this system please visit waterfortheworld.com.

What to do

Thanks to Tony, Kim and Jenny’s hard work and positive instruction one system was set-up at a local Haitian church and the other at a school. While doing so they also educated the villagers on basic hygiene, sanitation and the understanding of keeping personal hygiene activities, such as bathing, separate from the water sources. They went over daily living habits like air drying hands rather than using one’s clothing with a general awareness of coming in contact with germs. Kim explained that education about germs was important as chickens and farm animals are commonly found running around the city and that simply brushing your teeth could cause E. Coli sickness.

Contaminated water sources are a major issue in the Dominican Republic which can lead to diarrhea, tape worms and other diseases; therefore it is important to know what to do if bacteria or sickness develops. For example, if one develops diarrhea they are taught to stop drinking the water and instead use salt, sugar and pure water; called ORS (oral rehydration solution), and how much of the concoction to drink. They are also instructed on how to use the water purification system instead of direct use of the contaminated water supply that comes from failing, leaky pipes and polluted waterways.

Kim and Tony explained that the main water source from the city gets contaminated due to old, cracking pipes especially during droughts. As the city’s pollution and sump holes seep into the subsoil during the drought when it starts raining and flowing again it is highly contaminated. The new purification systems are hooked up to the city water lines on the outside of the buildings and a structure is built around it. The first system was placed on top of the roof and the second had an enclosure so as to not contaminate.

The McGuire is about the size of a large cooler and has tanks that can be any size and with this particular project there were two tanks at each site but they can have as many as needed. The students said it takes about two hours to purify a standard tank of water and one system can purify enough water for a thousand people. Systems can be hooked up to the house for the kitchen, bath and other uses. It uses salt to purify, then runs through the Venturi, which is the process of chlorination and only the addition of normal table salt is needed for continued operation.

Kim informed me that the trip is also focused on building relationships with the people. One story she shared was about a Morehead State student on their team who was a diabetic. She had met a child that became her partner during the visit. The student discovered the mother of the child also had diabetes and her blood sugar was so high she could have been in a coma. The student knew of the challenges Americans face with surviving diabetes. She contacted Edge Outreach who knew people in the local hospital and got the mother help. The woman couldn’t see well, yet had her own shop that she had to manage daily. With 8 children of her own and grandchildren, all living in a small house she sometimes could make it to hospital only once a month. Sometimes not for 3 months and she wasn’t able to test her sugar levels everyday. Before they left, arrangements had already been made to send her diabetic materials she could use at home and get her on a path to wellness.

Why

This was Tony and Jenny’s first time installing water purification systems and Kim had installed 3 systems in Costa Rica. All assured me there were future plans for more travels in the name of “PureWater+PureLife”. They also shared with me that in normal environmental conditions a human can live about 3 days without water and while people in some parts of the world walk for miles just to get to a drinkable water source, those of us here in the U.S. must learn to not take such precious resources for granted. Kim said, “We need to be the hands and feet of God

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Introducing “Campus Climate”