CSUB Thirst Project gains ground in first year

Boiler Room event tonight: Stockdale Room, 6-9 p.m. Food and drinks will be provided.


Roel Romualdo, former intern and member of the CSU Bakersfield Thirst Project Club, demonstrates how limiting it can be for communities to access clean water in the Student Union Multi-Purpose Room on March 21. Leo Garcia/The Runner

By Vincent Perez, Features Editor

Roel Romualdo has been promoting clean drinking water since last spring. The reason he is doing this is for Thirst Project.

A former president of Thirst Project Club at CSU Bakersfield, Romualdo interned for the main Thirst Project for three months beginning in January 2018 traveling from across the U.S., from California to Louisiana.  He promoted the project speaking to schools across the states.

Thirst Project is a Los Angeles-based youth water activist organization that was started in 2008 by Seth Maxwell, CEO. According to the organization’s website (www.thirstproject.org), the Thirst Project has raised $9.7 million, served 13 countries and served over 360,00 people worldwide.

Romualdo, an economics major, was 23 when he wanted to bring awareness to the global water crisis. Made most notable by Romualdo in his presentation in the Student Union Multi-Purpose Room on, March 21, the African country of Swaziland faces hurdles in finding clean drinking water.

The nearest well for women and children to receive clean water is 3.75 miles away from their homes. They make this trek carrying jugs up to 44 pounds for clean water.

That’s where Thirst Project comes in. The goal is to create more water wells within a reasonable distance.

Romualdo made this clear to the students present in the Multi-Purpose Room and thousands of others he has reached in the past year. He was not only grateful for those in attendance but those that helped him while traveling, promoting Thirst Project. He stayed with families during his travels.

“I feel their role in the Thirst Project was very helpful. Not only did we stay with them and spoke to schools around them. We were kind of the glue in it and it felt like family.”

He said he felt like his studying abroad experience in France did not compare to the experience he had with the Thirst Project.

“Not that studying abroad is bad, I recommend that too,” he said.

“It was life-changing. You see the energy and compassion from middle school to university level students that want to help.”

Romualdo said before he interned with the Thirst Project, his grades were slipping. “I don’t know what it is. I didn’t feel guilty skipping class.”

Then, he saw an opportunity in the Thirst Project.

“Going on this journey, with responsibilities. [It made me think], ‘Thirst Project trusts me to spread awareness’ and it made me feel empowered.”

The Thirst Project Club at CSUB was made an official campus club late last year.

Christian Miranda, 22, physics major, is the current president of Thirst Project Club. He provided an update: “Since last year, we’re getting our bearings and building the strength of the club itself.”

Moving forward, he said the club wants to make more activities and collaborate with other clubs which they have done before at Rowdy Con, passing out water, promoting the club.

How Miranda became involved in CSUB Thirst Project was an opportunity heard from his then roommate, Romualdo.

He let Miranda know how fulfilling the experience was and Miranda felt compelled to help lead the way.

Shaina Ladhulny, 18, the event coordinator of Thirst Project Club, a child, adolescent, and family studies major, said she sought a club that wanted to make a change.

“I wanted to get involved in something non-profit,” she said.

She added, “When I saw Roel’s passion, I was very excited to be involved.”

She said that she wants to make a difference, big or small. “I want to be a part of something that is not materialistic,” she said.

Thirst Project Club will be hosting a Boiler Room event tonight in the Stockdale Room from 6-9 p.m. Food and drinks will be provided, with local artists performing live music.

The CSUB Thirst Project can be reached on Facebook @CSUBThirstProject and Instagram @csubthirstproject.