Students from UT and India Partner to Promote Clean Drinking Water

Ernie CadotteStudents from UT’s Haslam College of Business are partnering with college students in India to promote clean drinking water through Procter and Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water program. This international program provides water-cleansing packets to developing countries.

Ten students and a faculty member from Maharashtra Institute of Technology in Pune, India, will visit Knoxville on October 7 to discuss drinking water quality in India with UT students and conduct a demonstration to cleanse samples of the Tennessee River using the water-cleansing packets.

Chemicals in the packets remove more than 99 percent of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and solid waste by settling them to the bottom of a container where they can be easily filtered.

Ernie Cadotte, Fischer Professor of Innovative Learning, is leading the project to reach children in rural areas of India, where 21 percent of communicable diseases are connected to unsafe water.

Cadotte learned about the program from UT freshman Michael Van Dorselaer, who first heard about it when he was ten years old.

“My dad, who worked for Procter and Gamble at the time, had a friend from South Africa over for dinner that talked about the need for clean water in his village,” said Van Dorselaer. “I thought there was something we could do, so I started a service club at my school to raise money to distribute the water-cleansing packets in South Africa.”

Over the course of eight years, Van Dorselaer’s service club raised $100,000 and spread the fundraising idea to forty-three schools across Ohio. Cadotte is now adapting Van Dorselaer’s model as part of a service-learning class taken by seniors at UT.

“I’ve been lucky to see the difference in quality of life through the missionary nuns who distribute the water-cleansing packets in Africa,” said Van Dorselaer. “It has really helped the children in several villages stay healthy.”

Cadotte sees this program as a positive addition to the service-learning class he leads each semester.

“One of our main goals in the Haslam College of Business is to combine management practices with real-world application and personal involvement to make the world a better place,” he said. “It’s truly rewarding to see our students offering their business skills to help provide safe drinking water to children in India.”

For more information about the Haslam College of Business, visit haslam.utk.edu.

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CONTACT:

Katie Bahr (865-974-3589, katiebahr@utk.edu)

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, tyra.haag@tennessee.edu)