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A Fresh Approach

Brandi Lee and Safiya Rasheed on a delivery in Flint

Brandi Lee, left, of CCAC’s South Campus, and IUP’s Safiya Rasheed ’16 on a delivery in Flint. Courtesy of Nancy Nkumsah

When lead contamination in the Flint, Michigan, water supply flooded the news last spring, Nancy Nkumsah D’16, then interim director of IUP’s African American Cultural Center, came up with a plan. She spearheaded a water drive on campus and then coordinated a service trip to Flint so students could deliver the water themselves.

On March 31, Nkumsah and 25 other IUP students, joined by a group from the Community College of Allegheny County’s South Campus, loaded the water into a bus and headed northwest. IUP’s Division of Student Affairs assisted with hotel expenses for the three-day trip.

While the students distributed about 5,000 gallons of water to Flint residents, they learned firsthand of families’ struggles. The students also toured parts of the city to see abandoned homes and other effects of the water crisis.

The full group of IUP and Community College of Allegheny County South Campus participants in the spring service trip to Flint, Michigan

The full group of IUP and Community College of Allegheny County South Campus participants in the spring service trip to Flint, Michigan

Nkumsah believes IUP’s service to Flint will continue even after the crisis is out of the headlines. “It’s not always about what’s popular or what’s now,” she said. “Issues don’t disappear.”