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‘Water Walk’ to take place March 29

The Water Walk raises money for a student project in Guatemala.
The Water Walk raises money for a student project in Guatemala.

More than 700 Furman students, faculty, staff and local residents will carry water around the Furman lake from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, March 29 as part of an effort to raise $100,000 to construct a potable drinking water system in two rural communities in Guatemala.

Former Furman President David Shi will open the Water Walk, which asks participants to carry gallons of water in buckets and containers of various sizes to simulate the mile-long-trek that billions of people in the developing world take each day while looking for drinkable water.

T-shirts will be for sale and students will accept tax-deductible donations and $5 sponsorships.  The public is invited to attend and participate in Water Walk 2014.

The event is sponsored by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, Furman’s Global Issues Forum, Lowes, the Environmental Action Group, Furman’s Office of Public Safety, the Heller Foundation, the Shi Center of Sustainability, Furman’s Global Sustainability Club, and the Business and Accounting Department are sponsoring the walk.

Furman business professor Bruce Clemens first began working as a volunteer in Guatemala 40 years ago, where he and a group of supporters formed a non-profit consulting firm, Agua del Pueblo. Since its beginning in the 1970s, the organization has completed more than 700 potable water projects, bringing water to more than 20 percent of Guatemala’s rural population.

Their latest effort has brought Clemens and groups of Furman students to Sanik-Ya and Chitulul, small Mayan villages on the outskirts of the municipality of San Lucas Tolimán in the State of Sololá, Guatemala. Women in such villages walk several miles and spend up to four hours daily to collect drinking water for their families. Work on the main water pipeline has already begun, thanks to more than $30,000 in donations already made by The Duke Endowment, Furman students, alums, local residents and friends.

Clemens and Furman students Remi Bagwell ’16 and Kris Hajny ’15 plan to return to Guatemala this summer to continue their research. If the Water Walk is successful, Furman students and faculty have also pledged to walk from Greenville to Guatemala in 2016 to raise additional money for the villages, a total of 2,534 miles.

Guatemalan resident Francisco Juarez will be participating in Furman’s Water Walk and will share his village’s story during a special presentation at 5 p.m. Friday, March 28 in Hipp Hall, Room 104. The program is part of the university’s Cultural Life Program and a week-long celebration of Earth Week.

For more information, contact Bruce Clemens at bruce.clemens@furman.edu or 864-294-3649.

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