Clean water issues becomes focal point for some studentsNovember 7, 2012

On average, the human body can last about three days without water before it begins to shut down. While the possibility of not having water to drink for three days sounds pretty farfetched for most people in the developed world, it’s a real struggle for millions across the globe.

Rockhurst University students understand that.

As part of Rockhurst’s theme this year of reflection and discernment, the University is bringing Doc Hendley, a bartender turned clean water advocate, to campus, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Rockhurst University Convocation Center.

Hendley is author of the book, “Wine to Water: A Bartender's Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World,” which was required reading for all incoming freshmen.

The book’s tale of one man’s mission to bring clean water to war-ravaged Darfur, Sudan, resonated with some students who had their own personal experiences with the world’s clean water crisis.

Tess Hart, Independence, Mo., senior, and Danny Duggan, St. Louis, junior, have both taken lessons from their life and from the book to continue pursuing their dream of access to clean water for the globe.

Hart became greatly aware of the need for clean water when she spent some time in Haiti last year. While in Haiti, Hart noticed many people were getting their water from open and contaminated sources. When she came back to campus, she made it her goal to bring awareness of water issues to Rockhurst.

“It had a profound impact on me,” Hart said about the Haiti trip. “I wanted to relay my experience to other people and share my story and the story of the people of Haiti. I hope is that this will bring awareness to what is happening over there.”

Duggan had a similar experience. For a few years, Duggan has been traveling to Nicaragua volunteering with the organization Amigos for Christ.

One of the organization’s main goals is to have a community lead an effort to improve its water flow and sanitation.

“I think as Americans, we have a tendency to take water for granted,” Duggan said. “All we need to do is go to the faucet and turn it on. That’s great, but we also need awareness that for some people, their entire day is spent struggling to find a source of clean water for their family.”

The two students said they were both touched with Hendley’s book and are excited to introduce him to the Rockhurst community on Thursday.

“His (Hendley’s) personal journey and transformation was really powerful,” Hart said. “He was able to reflect on his life and himself and discovered a way how he could make an impact. At Rockhurst, we are all about growing leaders and reflecting on who we are as people and seeing how we connect to the greater world. Doc’s book really captured that on a personal level.”

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