News: Water For People

The Water For People Committee A Year in Review

Thursday, May 3, 2018  
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Originally published in the Spring 2018 edition of NC Currents


By Lamya King, Hazen and Sawyer, and Keller Schnier, Brown and Caldwell 


This is an exciting time to be a part of the North Carolina AWWAWEA Water For People Committee! In addition to testing two new concepts at the annual NC AWWA-WEA Annual Conference, the committee plans on hosting its first benefit concert to support Water For People in 2018.


 Each year, the committee hosts a Silent Auction at the NC AWWA-WEA Annual Conference where several in-country items and hanging rights of a famous Kircher print are auctioned off. This year, the committee opted to use the mobile bidding application, Handbid, for the silent auction. Unlike previous years, where bidders would hand-write their bids on a sheet of paper, attendees downloaded the app and placed their bids on their phones or an iPad located at the table. As such, bidders did not have to physically be at the conference to place a bid. One of the drawing features of Handbid is that bidders are notified when their items have been outbid, prompting a quick response and potentially increasing the number of bids. Committee volunteers were unsure how this app would be received at the Conference, knowing that people are often weary of downloading more apps to their phone. The general feedback from bidders, however, was positive, and the majority of bidders used the app on their phone. From the volunteer’s perspective, managing the auction was straight forward, with only one volunteer required to explain the app and place bids on the iPad as needed.


 Alongside the Silent Auction, the committee also hosted a College Flag Competition, where attendees paid $10 to hang the college flag of their choice in the Exhibit Hall. The committee collected college flags from schools across the country (and was sure to include local rivals such as UNC and NC State) to provide a wide variety of schools that conference attendees would support. With the help of committee members who collected flags, the College Flag Competition was a success and netted a total profit of over $260 in just two days. Since there were several school flags that attendees wished were available, the committee plans to collect even more flags and host the competition again next year.


 With both Handbid and the College Flag Competition being successful endeavors in 2017, the committee will continue to take on challenges in 2018 by hosting the inaugural Water For People Benefit Concert. With the full support and encouragement from the NC AWWA-WEA Board, the committee hopes to leverage its enthusiastic volunteers and local resources to host a concert that the community will begin to look forward to each year. The Chair of NC AWWA-WEA specifically mentioned this event at the Awards Banquet as a new and exciting way that volunteers are continuing the generous philanthropy that is so important to tackling the global water crisis, and demonstrated the overwhelming support from himself, the Board, and the entire Association! While the committee understands that trying new concepts and planning new events does entail taking on risk, the committee plans to continuously evolve fundraising and outreach tactics to become more effective. Furthermore, none of these changes would be possible without the inspiration and support from fellow committee members across the country whom the committee Chair and Vice-Chair had the chance to meet at this year’s committee workshop in Denver.




Keller Schnier is a senior engineer at Brown and Caldwell with nearly 10 years of experience. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and his Master’s degree from North Carolina State in Environmental Engineering. He and his family reside in Charlotte.


 Lamya King is a senior principal engineer with Hazen and Sawyer. Lamya has more than seven years of experience in designing water and wastewater treatment systems. She is currently the vice-chair of the Water For People Committee and is the lead planner for the Raleigh Water For People 5K held in April each year. 



  (L-R) Kara Meyers, Kelly Schier, and Lamya King.

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