By Leigh Ann Henry
The Wells Project at Baylor began after a Baylor student learned that there are more than 884 million people in the world without access to clean water. He spoke with a friend, and as they researched their options for aiding the water crisis they found Living Water International.
The Wells Project at Baylor is a group that operates in association with Living Water International, a Christian charity organization based in Houston. The Wells Project collects donations and gives the proceeds to Living Water International, allowing it to construct wells and provide clean water around the world where there is none.
“Water is a really unique cause because a well costs $500 to build and can serve 300 people in a community. It’s a unique opportunity to make a big difference,” Nashville, Tenn., junior Dustin Williams, co-founder of the Wells Project at Baylor, said.
The Wells Project at Baylor was chartered in September 2010 and the organization’s members have been working to promote themselves around campus.
“It’s great that we have students working to make an immediate impact on the water crisis,” Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator at Baylor, said. Getterman also serves as an adviser for the Wells Project at Baylor.
Wells Project is not exclusive to Baylor. Williams said several other campuses have a Wells Project, including the University of Texas, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine and Georgia Tech, and each of them operates under Living Water International.
Williams said the Wells Project started with a group of Texas A&M students on a mission trip about three years ago.
“One hundred percent of every dollar donated goes to the project,” said Nairobi, Kenya, junior Paul Warren, co-founder of the Wells Project at Baylor.
The group is not sending members on any overseas trips to help with the installation of the wells because it would have to pull funds from the account. The organization prefers that all the money goes toward well construction.
Donations can be made at www.wellsproject.com, the official website for the Wells Project at Baylor.
This year all of the Wells Projects are raising money for wells in Rwanda. Running totals for the project are available online.
Williams said the group has three to four dedicated, core members and has donated about $3,000 to well construction since July 2010 when it began accepting donations.
“We really only have three or four people and we realize that it’s really not feasible to put on campaigns or events with such a small group of people. We realize that we have to have a dedicated core group of people that are willing to take the time every week or every other week to meet and plan,”Williams said.
Warren said hundreds of people aid, follow and donate to the Wells Project at Baylor.
“It’s not about resume building, it’s about service,” Warren said.
Warren said the organization’s members help in different ways.
“We encourage a lot of creativity in our organization. If someone has a very unique way of doing things we want to help equip them to do that,” Warren said.
The project is currently organizing a campaign called “The 10 Days.”
The campaign encourages students and staff to drink only water for 10 days and donate all the money that would have been spent on sodas, coffees and other beverages to the organization.
Last year the campaign raised about $700.
“It’s great to see a group of students that really harnesses entrepreneurial spirit that is so rampant on our campus and focuses on an important global issue,” Getterman said.