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Student organization provides clean water with every purchase of a T-shirt

Passion lingers in Dallas Crum’s eyes as he explains the plans he and his three friends have for Vivid Roots. Vivid Roots is an apparel company which uses its profits to provide clean water to rural areas in Guatemala. Through their sales of t-shirts and stickers, the non-profit lets consumers have a direct hand in providing clean water to communities in rural areas of Guatemala.

“Our goal is to make it easy for everyone to make a difference. Just live life to its absolute fullest . . . We want to do good, but we want everyone to do be able to do it. You don’t have to join the PeaceCorp to make a difference,” said Dallas Crum, Business Entrepreneurship major.

Vivid Roots was conceptualized a little over a year ago when four friends, University of Idaho’s marketing and finance major Trever Bostrom and geology major Dylan Carlson, and Boise State’s international business major Connor Kingsbury and Dallas Crum, returned from a hiking trip together. The trek left them with a sense of empowerment that they wanted to spread to their peers.

“We wanted to share it (and find) some way to give back,” said Crum.

While searching for a cause the four student team found that around the globe 800 million people lack clean water resulting in 3.4 million people dying from waterborne illnesses annually. In Guatemala alone more than 150 million children are af
fected daily by pa ssites that reside in unsanitary water, causing many of these children to carry approximately 1,000 different kinds of parasites at any given time. Most commonly these parasites cause dehydration, but in more serious cases they can cause blindness.

The team of four were put in contact with Allen Asbar, a leading member of the Ford Collins Colorado Rotary, eventually the rotary club in Guatemala. At this point the team decided that they would need to visit Guatemala in order to find where to start their first water project, and what kind of water project would be most effective for Guatemala.

“It costs a lot of money to send people down there… If we want to start this company, we need to see the need,” Crum said.

The group decided to participate in the University of Idaho’s business competition “View” and got first place in social ventures. 

Acording to Bostrom, “This got us halfway to Guatemala.” 

The other half came from Boise State Venture College, which granted the Vivid Roots team 4,400 dollars to complete the funding for their trip.

Bostrom, Carlson, Crum and Kingsbury headed down to Guatemala in late May 2014 for one week. Using the rural village of Chiquimula as their base, the four traveled to five other villages, starting early every morning and finishing as the sun set.

Inspecting the water sanitation systems at schools, the group found that some rural schools had internet before they had clean water.

“They never had access to clean water before,” Bostrom explained. “Ever since they have gotten, it attendance and grades have gone up. Students enjoyed going to school because it is a better environment. They would come to school solely for water.”

Vivid Roots has been partnering with Water for the Americas and a Guatemala rotary club.

“We want to do it right and it takes a lot of time,” Carlson said. “The sustainability part is more difficult but more important.”

Students can preorder Vivid Roots t-shirts and stickers online right now with water bottles and hats in the making.

“You don’t have to strap yourself to a tree to make a difference,” Bostrom said “Let’s change the world together.”

About Patricia Bowen (225 Articles)
Patricia Bowen is a creative writing student extraordinaire at Boise State University. Her unpaid internship experience is immense and includes a summer internship with Semilla Nueva, The Cabin, Boise Weekly and a semester internship with The Ahsahta Press. Currently Patricia works as Managing Editor for the Arbiter. While she continues into her junior year of college she plans to write more poetry about the spider infestation in her room and drink too much coffee.