The residents of Jackson, Miss., have been on the hearts and minds of the public as they struggle with an ongoing water crisis.
A few weeks ago, videos of Jackson’s poor water conditions went viral, sparking massive outrage online. Multiple organizations sprang into action to assist the people in Jackson. FAMU’s Upsilon Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity is one of those organizations trying to make a difference.
Kaleb Brooks, a fourth-year agricultural business student and member of Omega Psi Phi, said they wanted to help.
“This issue has been going on for about a year now,” Brooks said. “We were informed recently and started accepting donations from Sept. 5-9. Even when we were in Miami, we collected donations.”
The fraternity opened up donations to the public and members also donated over the course of four days. In the end they had a successful turn out, according to fourth-ear business administration student and member Tyler Span.
“A metric about Upsilon Psi itself is that every brother that is active had to collect water bottles, so we actually collected 64 cases ourselves plus the cases that were donated from outside the organization,” he said.
Span said it was important to help the community during dire times.
“We see that on this side we are fortunate to have clean water. We played against Jackson State, so we see that they have people and communities who need our help,” he said. “It would be in our best interest to help.”
Seeing this kind of work and dedication inspires students and staff to continue to help and give back to Jackson’s residents and to the Tallahassee community. Bryan Smith, assistant vice president of Student Affairs and university ombudsman, hopes that this type of work continues throughout the university.
“It’s always good to see students helping other students, students being moved to try and lend a helping hand. I think a lot of the organizations on campus have decades of service, so it is good to see that current students are continuing those good deeds,” Smith said. “I just hope organizations on campus continue being motivated by what’s happening in Jackson, Mississippi. That they look around their own states and surrounding counties and find where they can lend a helping hand. It may not be a water crisis issue, but it may be another crisis.”
The fraternity members said they were able to bond through service. Fourth year business administration student and member Matthew Williams said it affected him in a positive way.
“Once this crisis got back to the brotherhood, we started thinking of different solutions of how to actually be of help to the community,” Williams said. “So, we really got together and brainstormed with the best idea being to collect water bottles. We were always a tight-knit group, so this really helped. But one thing I always took pride in myself was wanting to help any community in the best way I can. So, this was one of the first steps. As in thinking of different ideas and once we made a detailed plan this kind of helped me realize this is something I could be good at.”
With the water now all collected, it is being transported to Jackson in the coming days.