Wingate University panel to address water issues near, around the globe

For the Record

WINGATE — Any idea where your water comes from before it reaches your tap? Could what happened in Flint, Michigan ever happen here? How healthy is our nation’s water supply? And what about global water issues?

These and other questions related to water literacy will be on the table Thursday night when a panel of experts convenes at Wingate University as part of the Connected Campus 2017, a monthlong series of events designed to explore sustainability as part of The Nile Project.

The event, titled “The Ebb & Flow of Earth’s Lifeblood: Diving into Water Issues in our Midst,” is designed to give participants a global perspective before drawing them into regional issues and then focusing on the local level, a necessary progression, according to Dr. Catherine Wright, who helped organize the panel.

“Water issues are global, but they are also local and personal,” said Wright, an assistant professor in the university’s Philosophy and Religion Department. “Understanding more about water helps us move toward a sustainability mindset. Also, we need to be more proactive and holistic in our approach, so that it’s not about just how we get the water to us, but then we need to think about are we using it most effectively.”

Addressing the global issues on Thursday will be panelist Emilee Syrewicze, executive director of the Catawba River Keeper. Syrewicze has a degree in environmental law from Vermont Law School and has spend time in China, writing a thesis on Chinese water policy and development.

At the regional level, Wingate will showcase the work of one of its own — biology major Sierra Kincaid, who will share her research into macroinvertebrates in the rivers of the Appalachians and talk about how changes in water quality impact ecosystems. Ryan Spidel with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services will also address regional issues, discussing his agency’s role in managing water resources.

Panelist Brookes Versaggi, community relations manager for Union County Public Works, will discuss the state of water in the county and in the town of Wingate and share local conservation efforts.

Finally, Wingate University students Molly Hutson, president of BIGG (Bulldogs into Going Green), and Trevor McKenzie, the club’s founder, will bring the event down to the campus level, outlining water literacy education underway at the university.

Thursday’s discussion, set for 7 p.m. at the Batte Center’s McGee Theatre, is free and open to the public.

Other upcoming Connected Campus events include sketch comedy from The Story Pirates, a Jeff Murphy art exhibit, lectures on water and faith and on ugly produce and a March 31 Nile Project concert. To learn more, visit

For the Record

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