SSA spreads love through setting up water drive for St. Joseph

The Southeastern Sociological Association set up an I Love You challenge table in the Student Union, but this table doubled as a drop off for SSA’s St. Joseph Louisiana Water Drive. St. Joseph has been experiencing water contaminated with lead or copper and SSA decided to receive bottled water donations to bring to the residents of the affected areas. 
Regina Pergola / The Lion's Roar

Governor John Bel Edwards declared a public health emergency in St. Joseph, Louisiana when water in three buildings was discovered to be contaminated with lead or copper. The water supplies had been viewed as unsafe for several years but when three separate buildings tested for lead or copper, residents were told not to use their running water.  Their water system was contaminated and unable to provide constant clean water. While the Emergency Preparedness Office issued three liters of water to over 1,000 residents, there was still a shortage of drinkable water. At the university, students began raising awareness and accepting donated bottled water to bring to the residents of St. Joseph.

Vice president of the Southeastern Sociological Association Robert Nelson, a sophomore business administration and marketing major, was a part of the organized water drive for St. Joseph’s residents. Nelson believes that this is a social issue that more people need be aware exists. 

“What inspired us was a Facebook bill that we saw and the lack of awareness that’s going on ‘cause like, so many people in Louisiana don’t even know that this is happening in our own state,” said Nelson.

Nelson manned the I Love You Challenge table in the east side of the Student Union, along with other members of SSA. The table doubled as a drop off point for the St. Joseph water drive. 

“While the same thing that’s happening in Flint, Michigan is getting so much press right now, something that’s happening in our own state is getting none to little press,” said Nelson. “That made us want to give awareness and help out.”

Water donated by the public will be accepted and held by SSA until it is transported to St. Joseph in early March. SSA has provided for the transportation of water.

“We’re doing this through personal connections,” said Nelson. “The president, Dequar, his dad’s a truck driver.”

SSA wants to spread the awareness across the state. They are looking to expand this project to continuously help St. Joseph and other affected areas.

“We’re also going to other universities to try to get them involved” said Nelson. “We’re trying to make this event as big as possible just to help a small city out.”

The members of the SSA have to wait for approval before expanding their community service project.

“It just depends on what the Eboard wants,” said Nelson. “We’re going to try to continue to spread it out.”

The association was founded to help people around them by maintaining the environment and  spreading awareness of social issues.    

“That’s what SSA is for, trying to help the environment and helping out our state as best as possible,” said Nelson.

To find more about donating water or helping SSA, contact SSA at [email protected]