Filled to the Brim with Hope

Athletes aid water purification efforts in the developing world

Kenyon athletes have embraced water bottles--not to quench their own thirst, but to help meet the urgent need for clean drinking water in developing countries.

The Kenyon Student-Athletes, a campus organization, sold water bottles at athletic contests during the spring semester to raise money for the Lifestraw project of the Interchurch Medical Association. The Lifestraw is a portable water filter that can help prevent disease by removing bacteria and viruses.

Kenyon's involvement began with sophomores Rachel Goheen and Nora Erickson, both soccer players, and Stephanie Caton, a softball player. Looking for a way to aid economically struggling parts of the world, they discovered the water-purification initiative. The program is aimed at the Democratic Republic of Congo, where diarrheal disease kills approximately 28,000 people a year and is the leading cause of death, according to the World Health Organization.

The Lifestraw is about the size of a large kazoo and can be carried easily around the neck on a string. Each one can filter 185 gallons of water, enough to last a typical Congolese family for most of a year.

The Lords and Ladies sold thirty-four-ounce water bottles bearing the logo "H2OPE" for $7 each, with proceeds going to the Lifestraw project. The students, whose efforts won recognition in newspaper articles and television reports in the Cincinnati area, hope to make the fundraiser a staple at Kenyon sporting events year-round.

Readers can learn more about the Lifestraw at To read more about the project or make a donation, go to