What You Should Know About The Flint Water Crisis

What You Should Know About The Flint Water Crisis

And how you can help.
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Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the Flint water crisis recently. If you haven't: 1. You really need to read the news. 2. Here's the scoop: for nearly two years, the residents of Flint have been poisoned by their water supply from the Flint River.

In 2011, Gov. Snyder hired a slew of emergency managers to mend the poor city of Flint and to cut costs. In April 2014, one of the managers decided to remove Flint from Detroit's water supply and replace it with water directly from the Flint River, yum. The water from the river hasn't been treated properly, and contains high levels of lead and chloride. Water filters have been distributed to residents that are capable of treating water containing lead up to 150 parts per billion. Officials announced that the lead levels in the Flint water samples that were tested ranged from 153 parts per billion to over 4,000 parts per billion, exceeding the filters capability.

The effects of lead poisoning are dangerous for adults and children, but especially for unborn and young children. The effects on children include developmental delays, damage to the nervous system, impairs cognitive functions, and more. These effects are irreversible.

Flint has been declared in a state of emergency at the state and federal levels. Since the crisis has made national news, many celebrities have donated bottles of water and funds to help aid the city of Flint including Cher, Jimmy Fallon, Big Sean, Meek Mill, Eminem, and more.

Many local efforts have been made as well, including an independent water drive on campus ran by the WSU Sigma Pi fraternity, Gamma-Omega chapter. Hamza Ahmed, a senior dual student and Philanthropy Committee Chairman of the fraternity, took initiative of the event.

"It occurred to me when I was driving to Wayne State University one morning in late December. I was listening to the news on the radio and the water situation was mentioned and how the basic need for human life was being affected. This gave me the idea of holding a Water Drive event on behalf of my Chapter," Ahmed said. "I informed my fellow brothers about the situation and what I planned on doing. Everyone was very eager to participate in the cause and started contacting their families and employers about possible donations. Within a week, we acquired donation offers from four different businesses that amounted to $2,000."

The event took place Thursday, Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Center.

"In a matter of hours and such short notice, we were able to raise enough donations for 5,400 water bottles," Ahmed said.

How you can help:

Sigma Pi plans to continue holding water drives through the month of February. Sigma Pi hopes to raise at least 100,000 bottles of water. People who are unable to bring donations to the drives can make donations online from anywhere, Ahmed said. All donations collected will go towards United Way of Genesee County.

"People should know that residents of Flint are struggling every day to achieve a normal life. With the current water supply, they are not only unable to drink water but they cannot wash hands, bathe themselves, cook, or anything where water can come in contact with them. The need for clean water was there, is there, and will continue to be there for quite some time," Ahmed said.

To stay updated on upcoming events, "like" the Sigma Pi Gamma-Omega Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SigmaPiGO.

Monetary donations are also accepted by checks payable to Sigma Pi Fraternity, Gamma-Omega Chapter.


Cover Image Credit: Hamza Ahmed

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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Who is On The Shortlist For Supreme Court Justice?

President Trump gets to decide.

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Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring. Kennedy has been on the bench since 1988, after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Kennedy has been the swing vote on the court in many key 5-4 decisions. He has played an important role in many cases, including Citizens United v. FEC, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Obergefell v. Hodges. The Constitution of the United States requires that the President must select a nominee when a seat is open. The nominee is then confirmed by the U.S. Senate.



President Trump will now have an opportunity to put another Supreme Court Justice on the bench. He nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill Antonin Scalia's seat. Gorsuch took the oath of office in April of 2017. The Constitution says that justices will remain on the bench for life or when they decide to retire. The next man or women to take the oath will serve for many years to come. Their impact will shape history and the nation. So, who's in the running? Who is the President considering? Trump will make his announcement on July 9th and everyone wants to know who is on the shortlist.

The Washington Post and the New York Times reported that President Trump met with four candidates on July 2nd, one week before his announcement of a nominee. The President met with four federal appeals court judges. They were Amy Coney Barret of the Seventh Circuit, Brett M. Kavanaugh of the District of Columbia Circuit, Raymond M. Kethledge of the Sixth Circuit, and Amul R. Thapar of the Sixth Circuit.

The president has expressed great interest in nominating a woman to the Supreme Court. Should he nominate Amy Barret from the Seventh Circuit, she would join Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, as the fourth woman on the bench. Barret is a favorite among religious conservatives and clerked for Justice Scalia.

Kavanaugh was appointed by President George W. Bush and clerked for Justice Kennedy. Kethledge also clerked for Justice Kennedy and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. Judge Thapar was President Trump's nominee for an appeals court in 2017. Thapar was also considered by Trump to fill Justice Scalia's seat in 2017. Whoever the president appoints, they would surely be confirmed by the Senate, which is a Republican majority Senate. How will Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats react to the announcement? And what questions will be asked at the Senate hearings?



The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. President Trump will make history again by nominating a second judge in his first term. Justice Kennedy's retirement will be official on July 31st, 2018. After the President's announcement on July 9th preparations for Senate hearings will begin. As stated earlier, the next Justice of the Supreme Court will have a major impact and may change the course of history.

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