Students at Olivet Nazarene University have proven this semester that with a simple, good idea and a little motivation, great things can be done. Each year Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) does fundraising for a project with wide-ranging economic impact. This year they were approached by another student organization, Missions in Action, about the Haiti Water Project and the economic impact of clean water. During the presentation, students heard facts such as every $1 invested in clean water resources has an expected $8 return. Simply, clean water means health; health allows children to attend school and adults to work; and a healthy, educated, working population stimulates the economy.
“We saw the passion that the MIA students had for Haiti as they presented to us the HWP and what it meant for the people of Haiti,” Andrew Clausen, VP of Market Economics for the ONU SIFE team explained. “After hearing them speak, we really did not have any second thoughts about helping them out.”
They continued researching the water crisis and started recruiting friends to help spread the word. One student spoke with her professor about the project and arranged for one of their class assignments to be the design of a t-shirt that would later be sold to raise funds. Another student got to work on creating labels for water bottles that would also be sold.
The students came together for a campus-wide fair focusing on ways to make a difference in the world, and even their highest expectations were surpassed by the interest and generosity of students. Over $1000 was raised, and they ran out of t-shirts and water bottles. The group ordered more shirts and made more water bottles and continued to sell them everywhere from the cafeteria lobby to basketball games.
The tools were not too complicated — a catchy t-shirt design and some water bottles — but the solution to the problem is not too complicated either. More than half of Haiti does not have access to clean water and we can do something about it. We can wear a t-shirt, tell a friend, sell a water bottle, or any of the infinite options that are available.
Andrew shared his perspective: “Through this process I have seen firsthand what one passionate group can do for thousands of people. I hope that anyone who feels a draw towards the people of Haiti will take the hard steps to make a difference.”
It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference — just a simple, good idea and a little motivation.