“Blue Like Jazz” showing with director Steve Taylor benefits Students for Clean Water


Steve Taylor tells the tale of a 19-year-old from Texas attending progressive, liberal college in the film “Blue Like Jazz.”

(Photo courtesy of Roadside Attractions).

Faith Ann Ruszkowski

When the average American is noisily guzzling down water, sugary drinks and other carbonated beverages in a dark theater while watching a great movie, it is relatively safe to assume they are not questioning the cleanliness of the water in their drink. In the United States clean water is standard. However, tonight in the SAC auditorium, UT students can both contribute $10 to Students for Clean Water and ponder the cleanliness of water around the world as they meet director Steve Taylor and watch his film “Blue Like Jazz.”

“Blue Like Jazz,” presented by the UT organization Significance & Cinema, is not a film about clean water. Rather, it is the story of a teenager named Don, who is ashamed of his cult-like conservative Christian upbringing in Texas and decides to escape to Reed College in Portland, Ore. However, in the film, an activist character encourages people to not support an exploitative bottled water company.

Since the organization’s primary goal was to expose as many people as possible to the film, Significance and Cinema president Jordan Ramirez figured, “why not dig a well in Rwanda” with the proceeds?

“Students for Clean Water has a proven track for their goals to end the world’s water crisis,” Ramirez said. “We decided we wanted to help them reach that goal.”

Students for Clean Water is an organization that promotes awareness on campus about the lack of clean water in developing countries. Currently the non-profit organization is raising money to help support the Rulindo District of Rwanda.

“Water is so openly available to people in developed countries that we take it for granted,” Zabin Marediya, president of Students for Clean Water, said. “Many people don’t realize how dire a need it is to have clean water and how large of an impact the lack of clean and safe drinking water can have on one’s life. Many lives are lost due to dehydration and diarrhea alone, both of which can be prevented.”

To date, the organization has raised more than $65,000 to support development of clean water resources in communities and has said that all of the proceeds from the “Blue Like Jazz” event will go directly toward supporting the Rulindo District Water project.

Plan II freshman Akos Furton said he is going to the “Blue Like Jazz” event because he believes Students for Clean Water is making a lasting impact.

“A well in Africa is a long-term benefit to a community,” Furton said. “So I feel like Students for Clean Water are aiding a community for a long time.”

Printed on Monday, October 8, 2012 as: Film showing advocates clean water