UD Students Deliver Water in Flint

Mar 11, 2016 | S.Ortman

Dr. Brian Hallstoos, assistant professor of history at UD, and Jeremy Payne, director of 
Multicultural Student Engagement at UD, deliver water in Flint, Michigan, on Sunday, March 6.

Dubuque, Iowa – University of Dubuque first-year flight operations major Chai Kyham knocked on the doors of strangers to deliver water and hope in a city with lead-contaminated drinking water.

“It was such a humbling experience,” she said, adding. “They weren’t really used to people reaching out to them. They were so excited. They were so grateful.”

Eight UD students traveled with Dr. Brian Hallstoos, assistant professor of history, and Jeremy Payne, director of Multicultural Student Engagement, to Flint, Michigan, the weekend of March 5. They brought bottled water to residents through Dubuque-based nonprofit Resources Unite.

Josh Jasper, director of Resources Unite, spoke about the nonprofit’s Just Add Water initiative on the UD campus earlier this winter. Some students in Hallstoos’ World View II course felt called to volunteer.

“What inspired me was the student energy toward this,” Hallstoos said, adding. “It was really exciting to see students care for others and want to do what they could to help.”

Kyham, of Cypress, Texas, was one of those students. Inspired by Jasper’s presentation, she contacted the UD Black Student Union and Payne to encourage others to volunteer.

Around 20 area volunteers went to Flint with Resources Unite, which donated 460,000 bottles of water. After an orientation with the American Red Cross, volunteers delivered water in neighborhoods. Payne said it was inspirational to watch students speak with the residents.

“It was very warming (to see that interaction),” Payne said.

Others were impressed by the students, too.

“It was inspiring to see each of them take this project on and connect with the people of Flint,” Jasper said. “I believe they learned quickly that although Flint is experiencing a water crisis right now, they struggle most with feeling forgotten and abandoned. Watching the students connect with community members and provide them with that genuine connection was very rewarding.”

Students were also among those who donated to Resources Unite’s Just Add Water initiative. The UD Black Student Union gave $1,000 and UD instructor Sara Sroka’s World View II class donated $740.


The following students traveled to Flint:

Diamond Allen – Durham, NC
De’Jor Curtis – Espanola, NM
Chai Kyham – Cypress, TX
Kelsey Morales – El Paso, TX
Willa Miles – Rockford, IL
Willetta Miles – Rockford, IL
Donald Narcisse -  Manvel, TX
Ernest Ross Jr. - Cedar Rapids, IA