The Water Festival on Sept. 13-14 raised awareness about global water safety, and its potential impact on MSU Denver students. As part of Fall Fest, the festival featured several educational displays to support the new One World, One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship.
“It’s very important that urban dwellers understand where water comes from and the impact our lifestyle has on water quality and quantity,” said Sandra Haynes, dean of the School of Professional Studies.
The festival was held within sight of Denver artist Rik Sargent’s “One World, One Water” sculpture in front of the Student Success Building. For MSU Denver junior Jackie Brand, though, the location was too tucked away.
“I think water issues are really important,” Brand said, “But why are they hiding it down here? We only found this part of the festival by accident.”
Erika Church, assistant director of the school’s new One World, One Water center, or OWOW, said that the festival was geared to bring attention to the center and to let students know about the OWOW program, as well as internship and career possibilities.
“An anonymous donor granted Metro the money to start the One World, One Water Center,” Church said. “Just this fall we started our first two water study courses, and we’re working on turning it into a water study minor.”
Though both of the water study classes are new, Haynes said that they not only filled, but that a new section had to be opened to accommodate the demand for the Water Essentials course.
“This is an amazing result for the first offering of courses,” she said. OWOW is located in Modular 1, Room 109.
City and government entities such as the Department of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Works and Denver Water had booths at the festival to not only draw attention to issues surrounding Colorado’s water, but also to let students know about possible internships within those departments.
Water 2012, a short-term organization geared toward the celebration of water, offered freebies and the chance to enter a contest by making a 30-second video about a day without water.
“Governor Hickenlooper declared 2012 “The Year of Water,” said Nona Shipman, Water 2012 project coordinator “Water 2012 brings people’s attention to water in a positive light without all the harping about the politics of it.”
The Denver Zoo’s booth drew a lot of attention with a variety of animals from unique salamanders to large snakes. The main focus of the booth, though, was to showcase their new elephant habitat in model form. The Toyota Elephant Passage is sustainable, utilizing everything from treated reclaimed water for pools to dung for energy. The exhibit has earned a platinum credential with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, the highest rating that can be earned.
Lydia Hooper is a communications liaison between Denver Works and Earth Force. She talked about the safety of Colorado’s drinking water and what might cause the rivers to be polluted.
“People have blamed industry and factories,” she said. “But pollution is closer to home. Pet waste, lawn chemicals and insecticides get washed down storm drains to the rivers, and that water does not get treated,” she said.
Though 96 percent of Colorado’s population does drink clean water, Hooper said, there is room for improvement. Her organization seeks to educate people about that need.
Haynes said that last semester’s successful Water Festival was the first festival of its kind to be held on any college campus. She’s just as happy with the festival this semester.
“I would definitely consider this year’s festival a success,” Haynes said. “Whatever we do to increase awareness of water issues is important.”