Surprised by the lack of lead testing at some Bay Area schools, students in a campus club are raising awareness about clean water access with the help of a local basketball hero.
It is perhaps the most fundamental human need: clean water. But even after the Flint, Michigan water crisis erupted in 2014, it took some Bay Area schools until this year to realize that they had lead in their drinking water, while others still have not tested water fountains.
High school students in the Forgotten Causes Club decided that more people need to know about existing water problems. To help spread their message, Eli Mundy, Mitchell Krupnik and Jason Arzhintar, all seniors at Stuart Hall, reached out to Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. What started as a phone call turned into an invitation to meet the Warriors all-star forward to pitch their cause.
“We thought that Mr. Green would have a strong connection with the [water] issue, as he is from Saginaw, MI — not far from Flint — and also played college basketball at Michigan State,” Eli says. “Mr. Green is also a recipient of the Alvin Attles Community Impact Award.”
Following a Warriors early season practice in Oakland, Eli, Mitchell and Jason had their chance. “He came over to us, introduced himself and listened to our ideas about this pressing issue,” Jason says. “He was extremely passionate about what we are doing and completely devoted his time to hearing us out.”
Jason, Mitchell and Eli (left to right) with Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
The students explained the idea behind their club and why clean water access has become such an important issue for them. “Draymond was very open to the idea of a ‘forgotten cause’ and even shared a personal connection to it,” Eli recalls. The club, Jason explains, gives students a platform “to ignite conversation and action regarding forgotten or ignored issues.”
The students returned to campus excited about Mr. Green’s involvement and are in contact with the Warriors Community Relations office to plan an awareness campaign. “Our ultimate goal is for everyone to have access to clean water,” Mitchell says. “Bay Area schools should all have clean pipes so that kids can have clean water.”
Photo credit: Tony Farrell