SEWARD, Neb. Concordia University, Nebraska raised more than $7,750 during the 2013-2014 academic year to build a well in Ethiopia.
“It was amazing to me how many people lacked a basic necessity that I often don't think twice about,” said junior Mary Wheeler of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. “Women and children walk four to six miles every day to collect dirty water, and one in six children die before the age of five due to dirty water. I couldn't believe it, and I knew something had to be done. I had been praying for an opportunity to shine my light and to show Christ to people, and I believe this was it.”
Wheeler, along with 2014 Concordia graduate Rebecca Monnier of Bellevue, Nebraska, and campus pastor Rev. Ryan Matthias led fundraising and awareness events after hearing about the water crisis in Africa and efforts to provide clean water.
Some of the fundraising efforts included distributing coin boxes at Concordia’s daily chapel services, collecting special offerings at Concordia worship services such as baccalaureate and hosting a fundraising night at Subway in Seward where a percentage of the proceeds benefited the well-building project.
“I was overwhelmed by the amount of support,” Wheeler said. “This campus really does care about something bigger than themselves.”
The project at Concordia was affiliated with Water to Thrive, a faith-based, non-profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness of the global water crisis and raising funds to construct water wells in rural Africa. Each well the organization builds costs $5,000.
Concordia’s Water to Thrive efforts also included a two-week challenge that encouraged students, faculty and staff to drink only water. The weeks included other fundraising and awareness efforts such as raffles, bake sales, a social media day with the hashtag #ithirst, a plastic water bottle drive and an art day during which students gathered in Weller Auditorium to paint pictures reflecting the theme “I Thirst.” The artwork was later auctioned during an art sale along with ceramics and pottery created by the art department.