The Rotaract Club has collaborated with Water Is Life, an organization with “a mission to provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs to schools and villages in need,” according to its website.
“We are a partnership of Rotary International in the university level, and the main goal of it is service above self,” said Indiana Poret, a senior social science and pre-law major from Nice, France, and president of the Rotaract Club.
Rotary International is an international service club with a membership of over 1.2 million individuals from across six continents, according to rotary.org.
“We are raising money for Water Is Life; it is a project that creates water filters that can be used anywhere where the water isn’t drinkable,” Poret said.
“So, it can be used in Africa or even here during a hurricane or weather disaster if need.”
According to the Water Is Life website, each filter straw costs $10 and can filter 800 liters of water.
“One of the main things we do is bridge a gap between international students and countries and Americans, and that is one of the main things I thought about when starting the club,” said Zephaniah Jones, a junior psychology major from Montgomery who started the club in Troy.
Jones said he was introduced to Water is Life three years ago through Rotary International and has always liked the idea of trying to build up someone else’s community.
“I was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and it’s hot,” Jones said. “We need water.”
“I understand the need for water in that sense. Many people’s need of water is greater than mine, and if I can find an outlet to provide them with water and an outlet to provide any other thing for them, I am going to search for that. If I can find like-minded people, might as well.”
Jones also added that this isn’t only for members of the club, but that anyone on campus can contribute.
“I feel that it can be opened up to any student on campus because, in a sense, it is a project we are heading up, but anyone can be a part of it,” Jones said.
Poret said that they decided to help this organization because it allowed students to decide where the money they raised would go and even visit the locations they were helping.
“This is a great point for our group, as we were concerned to see the outcome of what we were working towards,” Poret said.
She said that she wants to start closer to home and would like to help the areas devastated by hurricanes through Water Is Life.
“We want to help places like Texas because even in developed countries today, water is a scarce resource in devastating circumstances,” Poret said.
According to Poret, the club plans to raise money by holding auctions and is planning them.
“I think it’s all about what you truly want to do,” said Agnes Ribet, a junior social science major from Fontainebleau, France, and member of the Rotaract Club.
“You can just come in and interact with people, but if you have an idea of a project — humanitarian, educational, just access to water in this case — you can really make a difference, because Rotary has a lot of resources,” Ribet said.
“Rotaract isn’t only about raising money for others but also improving your local area and yourself, and that’s why they offer scholarships to study abroad or even here,” Poret said.
“Rotaract clubs in Alabama schools, including the University of Alabama and University of Mobile, have been active in the community, and we hope to achieve the same at Troy.”