New Yorkers dine for cleaner water in impoverished nations

St. John’s University has always valued the opportunity to help the less fortunate, and students have engaged themselves in creating a brighter world. Service and volunteer work are a concrete foundation for the mission that the University represents. From March 20, UNICEF will participate in World Water Week by continuing their award winning, “UNICEF Tap Project,” and St. John’s students are urged to participate for this admirable cause.

The project consists of various restaurants in New York City charging $1 for the tap water which patrons usually enjoy for free. The money collected will then be sent to Togo, Vietnam and the Central African Republic to provide clean water for their people. The idea is simple, yet brilliant – give New Yorker’s the opportunity to help others while enjoying a quick lunch or a decadent dinner.

As students of St. John’s, we often take advantage of the resources that are provided. Whether it’s the surplus of dining options or the spacious rooms in the dorms, we are truly blessed to live as students of this University.  UNICEF reported that every day nearly 4,100 children die of water-related diseases and nearly 900 million people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and fixed while students have the opportunity to help bring an end to this crisis.

There are a few ways students can become involved with the project and contribute toward the cause. Donations online are appreciated, and online fundraising is a more substantial way to join together and fight for this cause. Through the UNICEF Website, students are provided with numerous options including mobile donations, online fundraising and donations through eBay. UNICEF also offers volunteering opportunities, including the recruitment of restaurants in the neighborhood or the necessary steps to host a UNICEF Tap Project event. Suggestions range from dining out during World Water Week to organizing a benefit for the cause. Registration is available online with step-by-step instructions for students to become involved. According to their Website, UNICEF works in more than 100 countries around the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, while also promoting safe hygiene practices.  

World Water Week grants students the ability to make a change in the lives of the less fortunate. Through small donations and volunteer events, each person can make a difference. Since 2007, the campaign has raised over $2.5 million for the cause. The mission stands strong, “the UNICEF Tap Project celebrates the clean water we enjoy on a daily basis by encouraging celebrity, restaurant, volunteer, corporate and government supporters to give this vital resource to children in developing countries.”

Because they are often busy with schoolwork and jobs, the dining option may be the most convenient for students. A list of restaurants in Manhattan is available on the Website and gives information including address, phone number, and reviews. Most of the restaurants have been Zagat-rated and offer eccentric cuisine including Pan-Asian and Middle Eastern. Dos Caminos offers modern Mexican cuisine, with fresh spice infused Guacamole and asada tacos. The Bubble Lounge in Tribeca is quite the experience for students of age offering over 300 champagnes and sparkling wines. With fine hors d’oeuvres and prestigious platters including mini black truffle baked potatoes and Ahi Tuna Tartar blinis, it’s definitely a fun night out. For a less formal experience, stop by ‘Jane,’ a contemporary restaurant located on West Houston Street. With burgers, crispy fish sandwiches, and the perfect Nicoise salad – this will surely become a student favorite.

Who knew students could eat for a cause? Take advantage of this opportunity to fight the water crisis and work with the restaurants of Manhattan during World Water Week. Whether you dine out, volunteer, or donate online, any effort, small or large, matters.  As Mohammed Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”