Students at the University of Flint-Michigan still battle the effects of the water crisis nearly three years later – with some even getting scabs from the water.
According to the university’s website, the school began testing its water independently in October of 2014. This was in response to a city issued advisory to neighboring areas to begin boiling water for use. Within the following year the school replaced all of its older drinking fountains and sinks that showed high levels of lead.
The school now tests its water quarterly but, according to the President of UM-Flint’s Black Student Union Mai Eltahir, some students have experienced physical effects from using the water.
“I’ve had a few people in the dorms complain about getting scabs from using the water,” said senior Eltahir, when asked if she knew of anyone affected by the water. Eltahir said she isn’t directly affected by the water but has noticed its impact on the community of Flint.
“There was a while where I kept like a case of water in my car because I didn’t want to drink from the school,” said Senior Alexis Pryor.
The university currently tests its water quarterly. It has also launched a map to indicate safe drinking locations in response to the crisis. University officials have previously sent out emails to alert students that the water has been filtered and is safe to drink.
Despite concerns, the university has been providing resources to the community. Organizations like the BSU have held educational with representatives form the EPA. The university has remained engaged with the community in various ways to educate students through talks and discussions on campus.
“A symbol of our resilience, which we are every single day people here are fighting every single day,” said Eltahir about how the community has been handling the crisis.
Now the university has become hands-on with the community to better raise awareness on the water issue. The university has since held a free series of educational forums focused on the Flint crisis. They are also now handing out filters and water cartridges to students and faculty at their university recreation center.
The University sits just South of the Flint River, the same river that the city switched their water source to in April of 2014. The university has an estimated 8,044 total students as of the fall semester of 2016.