The Two-Dollar a day Challenge (TDC) returned this week to the University of Mary Washington for the sixth year. This year, the participants face new challenges and fundraising ideas such as obtaining water from only one source and exchanging services for donations.
According to TDC participant Ashley Cameron, senior economics and Spanish double major, participants in this year’s challenge will only be able to obtain water through a water spigot located outside of George Washington Hall, as opposed to past years during which participants could get water from any public resource.
“If we need water to drink or cook we must go to the spigot by GW and then boil it because most of the population doesn’t have clean water,” said Cameron.
According to Santi Sueiro, senior Spanish and international affairs double major, participants of TDC must boil their water in pots on the stoves of the dorms around their shelter.
In addition to this new rule, TDC participants follow all past rules, which include making their own shelter with donated or collected items, according to Cameron.
Participants also cannot accept food or donations from people they know personally, can take no free food from campus and cannot take showers.
This is Sueiro’s second year doing TDC and he believes the hardest part of the challenge is living in the shelter.
“It’s not very comfortable and we’re exposed to the outdoors,” said Suerio. “The first night it got to 34 degrees and it is supposed to rain tonight.”
The participants also took part in bartering challenge on April 4, which involved students asking for donations in exchange for services such as cleaning, doing laundry, giving piggyback rides and drawing henna tattoos.
“We divided into two teams and we are offering a variety of services for pocket change,” said Emily Sherman, TDC participant and junior environmental science major.
According to the TDC website, the TDC is an “impactful experiential learning exercise” that allows participants to feel how it is to live on $2 a day. The challenge asks participants to find a cause and partner and choose a fundraising goal.
Erica Kreider, freshman English and education major, believes the TDC is a good way to show what it is like to live on so little each day.
“Someone was telling me they bought a yam for 69 cents and that was two meals for them,” said Kreider.
TDC raises money to donate to La Ceiba, a student-run microfinance institution for communities in El Progreso, Honduras, as a way to fundraise for those in poverty. Economics Associate Professor Sean Humphrey is the founder of TDC.
Humphrey was not available for comment.