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UMW students raise money for African well

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western’s Resident Assistants (RAs) and Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship recently finished a fundraiser for The Water Project for the second year in a row. By Kaitlin Ens [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="The well Chi Alpha and UMW RAs helped fund in the Lower Kogembo Community of Kenya in 2009. Photo courtesy of The Water Project."]Property of The Water Project[/caption] The University of Montana Western’s Resident Assistants (RAs) and Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship recently finished a fundraiser for The Water Project for the second year in a row. The Water Project, Inc. is a non-profit organization that collects donations and funds in order to provide clean and safe water to communities across the globe. Groups raise funds by taking the Water Challenge. For two weeks participants drink only water. At the end of the two weeks they calculate how much money they would have spent on other beverages and donate that amount to The Water Project. Chi Alpha staff member Molly McLaughlin and RA Jarred Kruger were instrumental in the fundraiser’s success. “Chi Alpha served as the facilitators this year,” McLaughlin said. “Jared was really key on the Resident Assistant enthusiasm.” McLaughlin and Kruger first learned of The Water Project in 2009. Rori Lant, who was involved with Chi Alpha at the time, gave a presentation on campus about the organization. The students then fundraised and accumulated approximately $700. Their donation, along with 74 other group and individual donations, raised money to build a well in the Lower Kogembo Community of Kenya. “I think the biggest reason we chose The Water Project is that all of the proceeds go towards the well,” McLaughlin explained. “No percentage is taken out for the organization.” After 2009’s success, McLaughlin and Kruger decided to continue doing the project. “We wanted to get the students involved in something bigger than themselves,” McLaughlin stated. “We made it a competition between Matthews Residence Hall and the connected residence halls of Jordan, Davis, and Centennial (JDC). Whoever won would get a party.” Both Matthews and JDC took the fundraiser and the competition seriously. Having photos from the well they helped build last year encouraged people to donate. “We had some RAs who really went the extra mile,” Kruger added. “Matthews had strong people, but some of the JDC RAs were relentless.” After tallying the donations, McLaughlin and Kruger will be organizing a party for the JDC. The donations amounted to approximately $800. They will not know what well location the money will help fund until the well’s completion. While McLaughlin and Kruger both plan on wrapping up their college careers in the near future, they both hope others continue fundraising for The Water Project. “Hopefully it is done again,” Kruger said. “I won’t be here, but we have talked about how to make it bigger. We’ve only done campus fundraising so far, but for sure if there was a strong push in the community, a goal could be an entire well. A well costs around $5,000-6,000.” For now both McLaughlin and Kruger are happy with the money raised for this year’s project. “It gives a good feeling to give to a cause,” Kruger explained. “It is a good way to get involved.”