Water Project Unites Religion & Science Studies

Most families in America use more than 300 gallons of water per day, per home, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The bureau also states that around 70% of that water usage occurs indoors.

For those who live in underdeveloped countries, these same statistics are not a possibility.

The religion and science departments worked together to give students a better understanding of the struggles families in underdeveloped countries go through. This project also tied in with the Pope's recent encyclical, where he wrote about the world and creation being our common home.

"Part of that call to mission is embracing and unifying with those who do not have all the resources," explained religion teacher Tim O'Loughlin.

Teachers in the religion department recently showed a video to sophomore students where families in Africa traveled four miles just to get water. The water, however, is usually not clean. After watching and discussing the video, students divided into small groups and took turns carrying a five-gallon bucket of water a quarter-mile outside of the school.

"In a small way, this unifies us with those people and give us an appreciation of what they go through on a daily basis," said O'Loughlin.

The science department focused on students making a connection between poverty and water borne illnesses.

"We want students to realize that this is a big social issue and by using things they have around their homes, they could easily construct a water filter to help with water borne illnesses," said science teacher Caty Maga.

In their science classes, students were introduced to water purification packets. Each packet contains a powder that removes microorganisms capable of causing disease and other harmful materials. The same packets are used by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in part with their Clean Water Project. During Lent, the CJ student body accepts contributions and divides the funds between the Marianists and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. In 2015, the contributions for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur went to the Clean Water Project.

"Every year students really start to make the connection between what we do with the Senior Capstones and Lenten Mission Drive, " said Maga. "They begin to see this need and respond to the need throughout their years here at CJ."

Maga recently took her students down to the Great Miami River so they could analyze the river's water particles.

"This project made me realize how precious clean water is and how difficult it is in some countries to obtain," said Elena Muir '19.

Hayleigh Whorton '18 concurred, "This project made me think about how privileged we are to have clean water when others don't. It also made me wish that we could get everyone more aware of this water problem that people around the world are going through."

O'Loughlin and Maga both agreed opportunities to focus on a similar subject through different academic departments is part of what makes CJ special.

"This is a great fit to what the science classes are doing and it's a great fit for where we are in scripture class," said O'Loughlin.

"I think the religion department does a great job when talking about poverty and it also provides a basis for open forum and discussion, when discussing poverty and how it affects our water usage," Maga said. "Religion also has the tools to discuss more of the social aspects of how poverty affects those surrounding us."