Sharing the Value of Water with Saginaw Area Students

Saginaw, MI – The community of Saginaw, Michigan and surrounding areas are currently struggling to reinvent itself in the wake of a changed economy, which has left little opportunity in the area’s core competency – the auto industry. Combined with the water industry’s growing need for talented young people who are seeking a solution to the water/energy nexus, this presents a perfect opportunity to educate the area’s youth regarding the role they are able to play in the future of water. Duperon Corporation, a Michigan manufacturer of adaptive screening technologies used in wastewater, flood control, and other applications, has chosen to begin this education through the Saginaw Spirit Education Game Day program.

The Saginaw Spirit Education Game Day presents local schoolchildren with a variety of educational exhibits designed to showcase fields and careers the children may not have previously considered. In addition to Duperon’s showcase of the water industry, other sponsors of the event present opportunities in other growth fields, such as healthcare, engineering, chemistry, and energy.

“Our goal for the event is not only to share the opportunities available in water, but also to really impress upon the students what a valuable resource we have in water. Living in Michigan, we are literally surrounded by liquid gold,” shared Tammy Bernier, President and CEO of Duperon Corporation. “We hope that they see the fantastic opportunity this provides for their futures. If nothing else, we want students to leave knowing how blessed they are to have such easy access to an abundance of safe water.”

To make this impression, Duperon’s exhibit at the March 4, 2014 event focused on two main events. The “Toilet Toss” encouraged students to toss beanbags into a toilet display as they learned what could – and could not – be flushed down a toilet. “There’s a lot of giggling and a bit of a gross-out factor, which makes it fun,” said Vicki Popp, Marketing Project Manager for Duperon and coordinator of the exhibit. “But they’re also learning something important, and hopefully taking it home to share with their whole household.”

The second event, the water-carrying challenge, was a bit more serious. Duperon engineers Katie Shaffer and Dan Courser stood with a simple pole supporting two jugs of water, and offered passing students a chance to walk a few steps in the shoes of children in third-world countries. “It was always funny at first, to see the older kids take it on as a kind of macho challenge,” said Courser. “They all think at first that water isn’t that heavy, even when I tell them that it weighs 44 pounds. But once it’s on their shoulders, and you tell them that kids in third-world countries are walking an average of four miles with that on their shoulders just so they can have a drink… They really get it. It’s amazing to see them realize just how lucky they are.”

The 2014 Spirit Education Game Day marked Duperon’s fourth year in sponsorship of the event.