Jillian Smith | Editor-in-Chief
The National Panhellenic Council has raised over one thousand dollars in the past week to support the citizens of Flint, Michigan who have been consuming chemical laden water for over a year now by providing them with a safer water supply.
Malik Simpson, the President of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and a Special Events Co-Chair for NPHC wrote the proposal for the campaign.
“Everyone knew what was going on and NPHC needed to make a united stand,” said Simpson.
The campaign began on Monday, Feb. 1 and ended on Friday, Feb. 5. It was stationed in Talley Student Union, the perfect location to gain the attention of students and faculty.
The idea of having a “Penny War,” was initiated by NPHC Vice President Aleah Mathis, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. The goal was to encourage organizations outside of NPHC to participate in the campaign.
Six organizations participated alongside NPHC: the Society of Afrikan Culture, the Peer Mentor Program, the Panhellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, the Order of Omega and Alpha Phi Omega.
Every penny gained the organization one point, and any silver coins or dollar bills resulted in a point deduction. As an incentive, NPHC offered seven free tickets for the Apr. 9 step show to the winning organization.
Sydney Wingate, a junior studying communication, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. worked the collection table informing students about the state of emergency in Flint and what their donations will be used for.
“We are just hoping to add something to this cause and help people get clean access to in some form,” Wingate said.
The Flint water crisis was the forefront of national news earlier this month when a federal investigation conducted by the U.S. attorney’s office revealed that more than 100,000 people had been receiving the contaminated water from the Flint River instead of from Lake Huron though the Detroit city water system.
Complaints from residents began immediately after the water source was switched. At numerous town hall meetings, the color, clarity, smell and taste of the water was questioned.
The government of Flint attempted to quiet the dissenters with public displays of the water’s safety as well as posters reading “Hey Flint! It is safe to wash!” and “lead in bath water will not
soak into your skin fast or at high levels.” Now that the severity of the situation has been revealed, reports of skin lesions, hair loss, high levels of lead in the blood, vision loss, memory loss, depression and anxiety have surfaced.
“It’s a really really sad situation. We just wanted to do our part here in North Carolina to help out,” said Wingate.
Wingate admitted that she was surprised by students’ enthusiasm and the number of donations given to the cause.
“You get to see the generous side of people, even if they don’t know what’s going on,” she said. The campaign garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from the student body according to Wingate.
The money from the Penny War will go to the Flint Water Fund sponsored by United Way according to Simpson. They will use the donation to buy more bottled water and new water filters for Flint residents.
With this, I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone to give back what has been given to you. Share your talents, advice, and your lending hands to make sure that you do not leave those behind but bring them right beside you.