Globalization and Human Rights class holds H20 challenge

By Angie L. ‘17

The senior Globalization and Human Rights classes recently sponsored a week-long Poly H20 challenge to raise awareness about global water issues and to raise funds to provide clean potable water and toilets to families and villages in developing countries. The classes asked students and teachers to drink just water for the week and to donate the money typically spent on coffee, soda, or juice to water.org, an international non-governmental organization dedicated to providing microloans to individuals in a number of nations to increase access to safe water and sanitation.

Setting a goal of $1,000, the seniors collected donations and hosted a barbecue at the conclusion of the week. To further encourage Upper School students and faculty to drink water, the class also installed water dispensers around the South Campus. The challenge theme was simple: Drink water, give water. Assistant Head of School and teacher of this course, Greg Feldmeth, commented, “The idea was to raise awareness of going to Starbucks and paying $3.50 for coffee when many people in the world don’t even have access to clean water or have to spend hours walking to get it and bring it back home.”

This year, Poly’s H20 Challenge replaced the annual Live Below the Line challenge for several reasons. Many students were excluded from participating in a diet-based campaign because of athletic or musical commitments; others were advised not to reduce caloric intake for medical reasons. Members of the Globalization and Human Rights class wanted to find another way to focus on global challenges. A third of the world’s population does not have access to toilets, and more than 600 million people do not have access to clean water. The class examined different organizations and settled on water.org because of the microloan feature of the program. The money raised will be donated to the organization, which in turn will loan the funds to families to install a toilet or access to water in individual households.

Senior Nikhil Adarkar, a student in Globalization and Human Rights, commented, “It was really an eye-opener to see how much water I would drink when I cut out sodas and juices ... and this precious commodity we take for granted is not easily accessible in many parts of the world.” The members of the Globalization and Human Rights class hope that the H20 challenge will be received positively and will continue in the coming years. Feldmeth concluded, “Our goals were to raise awareness and also raise money. It’s no sacrifice at all to drink water, but we hope to let people know what they can do to help people who don’t have access to clean water.”
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