By Ashley Posimato
Upon their return to Marist last week, the Global Outreach students showed a new appreciation for a commonly overlooked necessity — water. Immersed in a culture suffering from an inadequate water supply, they were confronted with the reality of the danger of such conditions.
And although they had to leave the community in Mexico, they returned just in time to continue working to provide safe water, only now on an even larger scale.
Saturday, March 28th, marked the end of UNICEF’s second annual World Water Week. The United Nation’s Children’s Fund, UNICEF, started the Tap Water Project in 2007 exclusively in New York City with the goal of receiving one dollar for every glass of water served at participating restaurants. The money collected is used to ensure clean and safe drinking water for children around the world.
According to tapproject.org, only two years after its commencement, The Tap Project generates money from over 2,300 restaurants around the country, with each dollar guaranteeing a child 40 days of access to safe water.
Cutillo’s a family owned restaurant in Carmel, New York discovered UNICEF’s project the first year it began, and continue as loyal participants.
“This is our third year contributing to the program,” said Patrick Cutillo, chef and son of owner Michael Cutillo. “American Express ran an advertisement and I have always been in favor of helping move the clean water effect.”
As a former student at the Cullinary Institute of America, the use of water was an integral part of most of Cutillo’s experience.
“Water is the universal ingredient,” Cutillo said, “We used it to boil, wash, prepare, lighten[…] essentially we used it for everything, and went on to have careers that require us to use it for everything.”
But even non-culinary college students, pursuing futures that have nothing to do with food service, are dependent (sometimes without realizing) on the availability of water.
Kristen Aliperti, junior at Marist keeps a water bottle with her at all times.
“I leave for my 8 o’clock class with my water every morning,” Aliperti said, “and I refill it at least four or five times a day.”
Yet although it is important to drink plenty of water for hydration and good nutrition, there are instances where the very easy option to conserve water is neglected by many college-age students.
(When asked about her morning routine)
“I’m usually in a rush, so I try to do multiple things while the tooth brush is in my mouth,” Aliperti said, “[…] I guess I leave the faucet on most of the time — I don’t mean to.”
But the simple act of shutting the water between rinses shows a sense of cognitive thinking about water, and is one of the main components for progression.
“I think the Tap Project produces benefits beyond the obvious monetary profit,” Cutillo said. “It forces people to recognize their good fortune, and reevaluate the sense of entitlement that is many times associated with water.”
Michael Cutillo, main chef and owner of the restaurant said, “We are living during a time of economic unrest, everyone is hurting.” “But it’s times like this when we should be helping each other the most and celebrating what we do have; our health, our loved ones, and our liberty to live in a great country.”
And even if the land of the free, puts a price on everything — one dollar doesn’t seem so bad.
“[…] And very few people leave one dollar, most people donate 20 dollars or more” Michael Cutillo said.
“Why wouldn’t anyone want to give forty days to a kid? I promise there is no bigger or better way to stretch one dollar.”
*Cutillo’s can be found amongst all the other locations on UNICEF’s list of particicapting restaurants at: http://www.tapproject.org/tap-in-your-city/