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Group Raises Funds For A Parched Planet

By Drew Jenkinson
April 27, 2010

Hundreds of people came together recently to raise more than $600 at the Virginia Tech InterVarsity Christian Fellowship fundraiser for the Living Water International organization.

An estimated 200 people quietly shuffled into Litton Reaves auditorium, dodging rain and thunder outside, for a showcase that aimed to raise money for the Living Water program.

Living Water is an international Christian organization, established in 1990, that delivers clean water to areas around the world that are in desperate need.

Members of the fellowship buzzed with gratitude after their success. “You can’t imagine how far this money will go to provide clean water for those less fortunate. This money will save lives,” InterVarsity Christian Fellowship member Meredith Howard said.

The event operated like a showcase with various students and clubs taking the stage in 15-minute sets to perform a variety of musical acts.

In between performances, video clips were shown to outline the severity of the water crisis around the world. The dark auditorium was full of students and community members who watched images of malnourished children hauling buckets of water across a dry landscape, their toes scraping up dirt along the way.

“Nearly 900 million people lack access to clean water around the world," Howard said. "Sometimes men, women and children have to walk up to eight miles just to get to the nearest source of water. We are trying to chip away at this problem.”

Following the video clips, Steve Swanson, a Virginia Tech junior, lightened the mood with a short set of witty original songs.

Swanson even applied humor to encourage audience members to donate money to the organization. “I really encourage everyone to donate to Living Water because I think I lowered the water supply when I just drank seven bottles of water backstage,” Swanson said.

The InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, as ambassadors for Living Water, argued that access to clean water equates to prosperity and human progress. “Instead of focusing on education or business, these people are forced to conquer the daily struggle of finding clean water," explained Erik Ostergaard, the fellowship's president. "They are struggling to survive each and every day.”

Audience members stirred with unease as Ostergaard continued to speak about the clean water crisis. Under dim lights, Ostergaard discussed how a lack of clean water causes more deaths each year than any war or natural disaster.

The event closed with a performance by Virginia Tech a capella group, “Mixed Emotions.” The group finished their set of four songs with a fitting arrangement of “Battlefield” by pop singer Jordan Sparks.

Following the performance by Mixed Emotions, the “Justice Team,” a sub-group of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech, passed donation buckets around the buzzing auditorium.

The team was formed as a community action group and aims to tackle one major world issue each year. This year the team chose to put their efforts towards the clean water crisis.

The Justice Team chose the Living Water organization as their vehicle for action. In addition to its Christian principles and foundation, Living Water not only delivers clean water to areas of need but also educates communities on shallow well drilling, pump repair and hygiene education.

“Even if people do not donate to the cause, it is important that we spread awareness of this global issue. It seems like everyone understood this issue tonight and really came out and supported us,” Ostergaard said.