Student Government and UM-Dearborn held a water drive last week to help those affected by the Flint water crisis. (Photo courtesy of Student Government)

By COURTNEY MORRISON, Staff Reporter

President Obama called a federal state of emergency for the city of Flint on Jan. 16 in response to the ongoing water crisis.

Flint’s water became contaminated with lead back in 2014 when the city was under control of an emergency manager, Darnell Earley.

Flint was switched from water treated by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department over to water from the Flint river for cost reduction.

Despite the ongoing problem, Governor Snyder did not call a state of emergency until January of this year.

The water that Flint residents are currently being exposed to is not safe for drinking, bathing or cooking. Multiple organizations and celebrities including Cher, Eminem, and Snoop Dog have been stepping up to donate water to the citizens of Flint.

One radio station, 98.7AMP Radio, went so far as to have a barbeque food truck at their water drop-off station that offered people pulled pork sandwiches for 99 cents.

UM-Dearborn has also stepped up to help. Student Government held a water drive for Flint this past week.

“Student Government is working with anyone who wants to join on with us, but so far we have partnered with the Civic as well as CEHHS(College of Education Health and Human Services),” Bradley Pischea, Student Government president, said. “This is a great way for us to start helping.”

Water drop-off spots were placed in several locations throughout the university.

With the University of Michigan having a satellite campus in Flint, the issue has hit home for students, faculty and staff on the other campuses. Chancellor Little of UM-Dearborn said he was proud of the way students were stepping up for Flint.

“The Flint water crisis is important to all of us as Michiganders,” Little said. “UM-Dearborn is a community of engagement, and our faculty, staff and students are always ready to step forward when needed. I am so impressed at the efforts our students have made to helping to ameliorate this great challenge for the people of Flint through the current water drive.”

In addition to the water drive, a group of students from all three campuses traveled to Flint on Saturday to take part in an engagement day.

UM-Dearborn President Mark Schlissel sent out a university-wide email detailing the plan for university students in Flint.

“UM-Flint has installed water filters throughout the campus, distributed filters to students and community members, and continues to test water to ensure safety. Chancellor Borrego and UM-Flint Provost Doug Knerr are convening faculty from all of our campuses this week to help identify needs and areas where we can best help.” said Schlissel.

UM-Flint is offering its students free PUR water filters as well as replacement cartridges.

A campus water information page has been set up for students in Flint that lists all of the locations where they can get clean water. The site also shows a map of all the areas in the Flint community with resources available.

As the situation continues the university is looking for continued ways to help.

“As the year goes on, we [Student Government] will be looking to contribute in other ways as well,” Pischea said.