Pharmacy fraternity holding fundraiser for Flint water crisis

Members of Lamda Kappa Sigma (Kelsey Hutchinson, 2nd year grad student pharmacy; Chelsea McDonnell, 8th semester pharmacy) professional pharmacy fraternity table in the Pharmacy Biology building on Wednesday afternoon to raise money to buy water for those affected by the Flint Water crisis. The event will run from 11-3 everyday until Friday. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The professional pre-pharmacy fraternity, Lambda Kappa Sigma, held a bake-sale fundraiser on Wednesday in order to aid those in need in Flint, Michigan. Students were encouraged to donate to the group’s cause, and in exchange get a baked good such as a brownie, cookie or cake pop.

The controversial Flint water crisis has been ongoing since 2014, but has only come to national public attention in late 2015. In a government switch between water resources, from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), to the Flint River, aged and improperly maintained pipes caused lead to leak into the public water supply. This resulted in heightened blood levels among children in Flint and the surrounding areas, along with at least 10 deaths due to the ingestion of the contaminated water.

The situation was further aggravated by coverups and denial of water issues by the Flint Town Government, along with presenting homeowners with past-due water bills, despite the contamination. The EPA and federal government stepped in to redress the situation in early 2016, changing the water sources back to the DWSD and distributing bottled water to Flint residents, while encouraging homeowners to either filter their tap water, or avoid drinking it at all.

Resources are still slim, according eighth-semester Lambda Kappa Sigma member Danisha Charles, who was helping run the fundraiser table on Wednesday afternoon.

“They’re in a hard state right now,” Charles said. “I mean, here on campus, we have clean, accessible water easy, and they don’t.”

Emma Saunder, the event organizer and a Sigma member, agreed.

“I was appalled by what is going on,” event organizer and Sigma member Emma Saunder said. “From our perspective, I thought since there was nothing we could do to directly fix their water supply, the best way for us to help out would be to try and raise money to send for them to be able to buy more bottled water.”

The event was organized by a committee of 10 students, and originally proposed by fraternity member Keelah Appiah.

Though the fraternity is pharmacy-based, community service is emphasized among members. Lambda Kappa Sigma will be running the bake sale for the rest of the week, located in the Pharmacy Building atrium.

“We focus on overall health,” Charles said. “Of course, drinking water is included with this. It’s important to stay aware of what’s going on, and of what you have, that they don’t.”


Marlese Lessing is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at marlese.lessing@uconn.edu.