• Lillie Burke

Water runs thicker than blood

Rivals like Belmont and Lipscomb usually don’t join forces together.

But when it’s for a good cause to raise money for organizations such as Blood: Water Mission, it proves sometimes water runs thicker than blood.

Both universities are partnering to raise money for Blood: Water Mission in a competitive fundraiser called Battle for the Pump, the first event of its kind.

The idea of the contest is to see which school can reach the $5,000 goal first–for an ideal total of $10,000 between the two–which is the amount of money required to build a single well in Uganda. The fundraiser began Nov. 19, in coincidence with the first Battle of the Boulevard game, and is set to conclude Nov. 30.

Michael Dean, the manager for volunteer engagement at Blood: Water, approached both universities in the summer with the idea of doing the fundraiser.

“This is the first time we’ve done kind of a an institutional collaborative fundraiser, and we’re just testing it to see if it works,” said Dean. “We’re encouraged by the response we’ve gotten from both Belmont and Lipscomb. The biggest challenge for us is to get the word out.”

Although Blood: Water Mission is the Belmont chapter of Alpha Tau Omega’s designated philanthropy, it is not an ATO event. The fraternity, however, is helping spread the word, Dean said.

Sophomore Luke Searcy is the member tasked with doing just that.

“We’ll definitely boost Blood: Water’s name because they’re just such a great organization,” Searcy said. “I just feel like it’s really important and really good for us and the university as a whole to reach out to them and support them.”

Students can contribute to the competition by texting either “Belmont” or “Lipscomb” to 41444, which will take the student to a page on which they can then donate any amount via credit or debit card, Dean said.

Another way students can contribute, according to the campaign’s website, is to “tack on an extra dollar or two” to their bill from campus restaurants.

Since last Monday, the total amount raised between the two universities is $400, not anywhere close to the collective $10,000 goal, he said.

But Searcy and Dean aren’t discouraged.

“It’s not a matter of donating $50-$100 per person; it’s the number of donations,” Searcy said. “We’re a pretty good-sized university, and if everyone donated the equivalent of a cup of Bongo Java coffee, I know we would raise quite a bit of money.”

Searcy also said they just want to raise “as much as possible.”

Dean held a similar viewpoint from a differing perspective.

“Even if we raise $500, that’s fantastic. That’s 25 people who have access to clean water. Twenty dollars gets someone an access to free water; $40 gets access for life. Regardless if we raise $40 or $40,000, we’re still affecting someone’s life for good,” Dean said.

At the end of the day, though, the Battle for the Pump is still a competition between two schools with an illustrious rivalry, a fact which is not lost on Searcy.

“Our goal is to raise more than Lipscomb, whatever that may mean,” he said. “Nothing good happens when we lose to those people down Belmont Boulevard.”

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