Students Raise Awareness of Lack of Clean Water

Students in Will Piper’s 5th-grade World Cultural Geography class discovered first-hand how difficult it can be for their peers around the world to obtain clean water. On March 14, in conjunction with Upper School Global Scholars students, they participated in a simulation called the Walk to Water, where they walked up to 1 mile around the Middle School commons while carrying a gallon of water. The Global Scholars had informational booths set up around to teach the children more about the issues surrounding obtaining clean water.

The event was part of the 5th-graders’ in-depth unit on sub-Saharan Africa, where they learned about children who walk upwards of 5 kilometers daily for clean water. In addition to the Walk to Water event, they were visited by Dr. Henry Wend and Upper School Global Scholar students, who discussed the Great Lakes to Great Lakes project that has been building in the Global Scholars program since 2016, as a result of Dr. Wend’s Think Big grant to visit Uganda. The project links students and communities in the United States to those in the great lakes region of Africa to develop sustainable water-use solutions.

“This event is extremely important because it not only gives the Global Scholars an opportunity to educate the school community about global events that have an indirect effect on everyone in the world, but also allows for us to actually gain insight as to the everyday difficulties that arise with not having access to clean, sustainable water—a right that we here in the U.S. often take for granted,” said Global Scholars student Lisa Wong ’20.

"The goal of the project is for students to think mindfully about the ways they use water and realize that while most people in the U.S. can walk a few steps to get fresh, clean water, it is not like that all over the world,” said Will Piper ’96, 5th-grade world cultural geography teacher. The 5th-graders and the Global Scholars held bake sales to raise money to help residents of a village in Uganda to build a sustainable, gravity-powered source for clean water.
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