ISU student assists in fight for flint

Zach Clemens

When Bria Nelson saw that there was not much discussion or concern on Iowa State’s campus regarding the water crisis in Flint, Mich., she knew something had to be done.

In May of 2014, government officials from Flint switched its water supply from the Detroit line to the Flint River as a cost-cutting measure. Since then, the residents of Flint have seen serious health problems because of high concentration of lead in the water that remains undrinkable today.

On Feb. 12, Nelson, senior in marketing and a Student Government senator, decided to start a GoFundMe page to help in Flint.

“I feel like nobody was even talking about [the Flint water crisis] on Iowa State’s campus,” Nelson said. “It was not as big an issue as should have been.”

All of the donations will go the Genesee County United Way (GCUW) in Michigan. The Genesee County United Way will use 100 percent of donations to the Flint Water Fund to purchase filters, bottled water, emergency support services and prevention efforts. No administrative fees will be assessed by the United Way.

The GCUW has provided more than 11,000 filter systems, 5,000 replacement filters and daily distribution of bottled water to Flint residents.

The fund has been featured on a couple different media outlets and has raised more than $1,000. Nelson understands that it is hard for college students to donate money when they have so little. 

“My main goal in targeting Iowa State students is to get them to share the page,” Nelson said. “Even if they don’t donate, if they share it [on social media] maybe they have an aunt or uncle, or relative who can donate, and every dollar matters.”

Nelson wants to continue the conversation on Flint and do her part to help its residents.

Anyone can donate or share the page at