In response to the Flint water crisis, students across campus are coming together to collect water bottles and monetary donations for the affected citizens of Flint and surrounding areas.

The Flint water supply has been contaminated with lead for multiple months, spurring health concerns for Flint’s citizens and garnering national outrage. The contamination began after the city switched from the Detroit city water to water from the Flint River in April 2014. The water from the river corroded the water pipes, allowing lead from the pipes to leech into the water. In the weeks following the change, residents began reporting a change in quality and adverse health effects.

Both Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and President Barack Obama have recently declared state and federal states of emergency in response to the crisis. Protesters have additionally called for Snyder’s resignation, claiming he was negligent in his delayed response to the crisis.

Joining many other groups across the state, University’s Prevention Research Center and the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center are partnering in a campaign called Fill-A-Truck for Flint. The campaign is now accepting both water bottle and cash donations, which will be delivered to Flint residents. Water bottle donations will be accepted until Friday in the School of Public Health lobby, and cash donations are being accepted in the Prevention Research Center office. The campaign aims to bring as much bottled water as they can collect to Flint to help the residents there.

Alison Grodzinski, School of Public Health employee and one of the organizers of the effort, said the center wanted to help out in any way possible after watching the crisis unfold and realizing the far-reaching impacts of the contaminated water.

“Our center has worked directly with the Flint community for over twenty years,” she said. “We know people who live in the community; they are our partners, our friends and our colleagues. We just wanted to be able to do something.”

The Black Student Union at the University has also started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money that will be directly donated to help the citizens of Flint. The funds will go to providing fresh fruits and vegetables — which help combat the effects of lead poisoning, according to LSA senior Christopher James, BSU mass communication chair — to be distributed at schools and childcare centers. The BSU is partnering with local elementary schools and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint in their efforts.

James said the BSU decided to contribute to the effort to support the residents of Flint after the increased national attention to the crisis.

“It’s getting national recognition now, but it’s always been a problem,” he said. “Nationally, everyone had been rallying behind them, so we thought we’d do the same thing here. We cannot be the leaders and the best and not help them out.”  

The Michigan Republican Party contributed to water bottle collection efforts Tuesday by collecting water bottles on the steps on the Michigan Capitol building.

During Tuesday’s State of the State Address, Snyder discussed several long and shot-term funding efforts to aid the city, including a $28 million request for funds from the state legislature.

“This is a challenge we must work together to solve,” Snyder said. “We will not stop working for the people of Flint until every single person has clean water every single day, no matter what”

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