The Elizabethtown College Class of 2017’s Senior Gift will be a well, to be donated to an African village that needs clean water.
All funds raised by the class will be donated toward the Water Project, which will consistently put the money toward building a well in a community in either Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda or Rwanda.
Traditionally, the Senior Class Gift benefits the campus community fairly immediately. Other proposed Class Gift ideas included an eternal flame or paving the edge of Schlosser Loop, creating a sidewalk so that students might avoid having to shift over for cars driving through. Previous class gifts include the garden atop the BSC roof, trees, the clock in front of the BSC and the arch leading into the Schlosser Loop.
“We decided to do something the College has never attempted to do before,” Ramon Rios, senior and President of the Class of 2017, said. The money the class gives to help build a well will be used immediately; seniors will have the unique experience of seeing the progress as it’s made.
Building a well typically takes eight to 10 months. At the very least, the ground will be broken by the time the class graduates on May 20, 2017.
The class chose to work with the Water Project to establish a well in Africa because of the charity’s reputation. They employ safe techniques to ensure clean water and do not drill too deep.
The community that will benefit from the well works directly with the Water Project, and community leaders actively play a role in its creation. “It’s not just a white man’s burden,” Rios said. The effort will be collaborative and demonstrate just a little bit of world peace.
The well as the Senior Gift is intended to symbolize the transition between being seniors in college to alumni who give back. The Class of 2017 aims to earn “a few” thousand dollars, according to Rios. A single well costs 12,000 dollars, so the College will be donating a bulk of these funds.
The senior class’ goal is not an exact amount of money. Rather, it is ideal if every member of the class donates any amount before graduating. To incentivize giving, business cards, Etown-branded glasses and raffle tickets to a 200 dollar diploma frame will be offered as rewards.
To reflect the benevolence of the class, Etown will be installing a decorative fountain on campus that uses recycled water. A plaque will be displayed next to it verifying that it represents the “life-saving water” made available in Africa by the Class of 2017.
Senior Madison McCall noted that the class donating the well instead of purchasing something for the campus is an example of the seniors fulfilling the motto of their soon-to-be-Alma Mater: “Educate for Service.”