By David Ford
The members of the Black Student Union at Youngstown State University collected water and cash donations to send to Flint, Michigan during the week of March 27.
Through the Flint Water Drive, the students of the BSU hope to make a real difference in the lives of those impacted by the lack of clean water.
Anthony Hines, the treasurer for the BSU, stated the number of children affected by the water issue in Flint was one of the main reasons he got involved in the relief effort.
“The number of children with lead in their bloodstream was a problem,” Hines said. “There were no clear cut results to make the water there pure again, so we decided to get involved and help out.”
While the water issue remains a problem for Flint today, the source of it dates back to 2014, when Flint River officially became the main drinking source for the city. Insufficient water treatment led to tens of thousands of residents being exposed to high amounts of lead.
In 2015, to quell the fears of the people, Flint mayor Dayne Walling drank the tap water on live television. Walling’s stunt proved to be ineffective for the city and any chance at his re-election bid.
Recently, President Donald Trump met with current Flint mayor Karen Weaver to discuss infrastructure funding to improve water quality in the city.
Several groups from across the country jumped in to help out the city, including the Black Student Union of YSU, who, so far, have collected more than what they originally expected.
Jaylin Archie, the vice president of the BSU, said this is the group’s first fundraising event and they are proud of the way it turned out.
“So far, we have received 75 cases of water, 80 jugs, 35 bottles and nearly $200,” Archie said. “We never had a set goal from the beginning but this is definitely more than what we expected.”
After the water is collected, the group plans on driving their donations up to the local Flint churches.
“The smallest amount could go a long way,” Hines said. “We’re glad we were able to do this event and try to make a difference not only in our community but the people and children affected by the water in Flint.”
Several students, faculty and organizations on campus, including the YSU Honors College, have sent in donations for the water drive.
Hunter Miller, a YSU honors student, said they donated a case of water to help in the relief effort.
“It’s a great cause to get behind,” Miller said. “I’m glad we were able to contribute to the water drive.”
As for future fundraisers for the BSU go, Archie said they have some events planned out in the future.
“We are planning on having a three on three basketball tournament and a music festival,” Archie said. “The money we raise will go to a scholarship fund that will be given out to black students who are seniors at school.”