Documentary series highlights personal, global water crises

From drinking fountains to fountains that exist purely for decoration, displays of clean water can be found throughout the USF campus. However, many may not fully appreciate the gift.

“People on the USF campus are very privileged to have very easy access to drinkable water when they want it,” said Christian Wells, director of the Office of Sustainability. “Most of the world does not have that privilege.”

To raise awareness for water crises that could affect students on a personal and global level, the office will kick off its first film festival with a three-day film series entitled “The Future of Water.”

Irena Salina’s award-winning film, “Flow,” which will be shown today, investigates the growing privatization of the world’s fresh water supply, according to its website.

“Blue Gold: World Water Wars,” which was directed by Sam Bozzo, will be shown Wednesday. The film postulates that future wars may be fought over the world’s dwindling water supply, according to its website.

“Running Dry,” a film by Jim Thebaut, will be shown Thursday and will be presented by Wells, who is also an associate professor in the USF Department of Anthropology. According to the film’s website, the work explores the effects of the water crisis in the American Southwest.

All films will be shown from 10 a.m. to noon in the Grace Allen Room of the Library, and each host will remain throughout the showing. They will also stay for a 10 to 15 minute question-and-answer session after their presentations, Wells said.

Wells said the documentary film series is a collaborative effort among the Office of Sustainability, the School of Global Sustainability and the Office of the Provost. Joseph Michalsky, chief sustainabilty officer for Student Government, said the Office of Sustainability also worked with his department in planning the event.

“A steering committee consisting of administrators and heavily involved students meets every other Tuesday to discuss cooperative sustainability events such as this one,” he said.

In addition to highlighting threats to the Earth’s fresh water supply, the series will also be presented in honor of President Judy Genshaft and commemorate her decade-long tenure at USF.

In April 2008, Genshaft signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, a promise to analyze the school’s emission of green house gasses into the atmosphere and formulate a plan to reduce and eventually halt carbon dioxide emissions.

“Ever since then, the Office (of Sustainability) was created, the School (of Global Sustainability) and a lot of these initiatives were started,” Wells said.

The Office of Sustainability was created in fall 2009 following Genshaft’s commitment. The school, which opened its doors this fall to its first class of students, was created in Spring 2010 and is the first of its kind in the state and nation, offering a master’s degree with a focus on water sustainability.