Student-run Club Funds a Well in Ethiopia
Published on February 17, 2014
In 2011, Brian Maehl ’14 founded Susquehanna’s charity: water club and made a splash with creative fundraising events, including one involving a dance floor full of bubbles. A foam party at campus nightclub TRAX raised more than $500 for the international nonprofit organization by the same name, which provides clean water to communities in developing nations—but the dancing didn’t stop there.
The group organized the 2012 charity: water ball, which raised more than $6,000 in donations and funded a drilled well in the Sewhi community of Ethiopia. Students paid $20 a ticket to attend the ball held in Evert Dining Room. The well was completed in December 2013 and now provides clean water to 400 people. Photographs of the well and details about the project can be found here. Meanwhile, the club continues to raise funds to contribute to other much-needed wells.
Susquehanna’s generosity and support of charity :water has been evident since the club’s first year, when it attracted 20 to 60 students to its meeting each week. The organization raised money and its campus profile by organizing events such as the charity: water ball, the foam party, and the SU Holidays 2011 campaign, which included festive activities like caroling and a gingerbread house–making contest.
Maehl was attracted to charity: water’s work because of its 100 percent model—meaning all public donations go directly to water projects—and its practice of sending GPS coordinates and photos of completed wells to donors.
“When money is given, a direct impact is seen,” says Maehl. “All of these things contribute to my passion for the organization and why I wanted to start a campus club so much.”
This passion fueled preparations for the foam party at TRAX, Susquehanna’s on-campus, student-only nightclub.
Ethan Sentz ’13, former operations manager at TRAX, says charity: water’s fundraising and awareness initiatives “are pretty remarkable when you think that it was possible through a foam party at a college dance club.”
Charity: water is not the only group to utilize TRAX’s charitable potential. Sorority Zeta Tau Alpha hosted a Highlighter T-shirt Party at TRAX that raised money for breast cancer research, and Colleges Against Cancer threw a Tacky Sweater Party to promote Relay for Life. Other fundraising events have included fraternity Phi Mu Delta’s annual Beach Party to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Sigma Alpha Iota’s Battle of the Bands, which raised hundreds of dollars for charity.
Campus organizations also use events at TRAX to promote their groups. Ebony Bradley ’13, former TRAX event staff and public relations coordinator, says, “Mostly all of our events are in collaboration with student organizations. We believe that it is very important to support student initiatives and offer our services to as many organizations as we can.”