Climbing for charity

15 May 2015


Student Angela Stallone (MSc Water Science, Policy and Management) is raising money for Nepal by taking part in WaterAid’s Mountain Challenge on Saturday 6th June. WaterAid Mountain Challenge is WaterAid’s biggest annual challenge event with the aim to have at least one team of between 4 and 7 walkers on top of 150 mountains across the UK and Ireland.

In this post we ask Angela a few questions about herself and why she has decided to take part in the challenge. You can sponsor Angela through her JustGiving page. Follow Angela on Twitter to track her progress.

Where are you from?

I am from Oneonta, a small but quaint town in Upstate New York that inadvertently drove me to love water. I grew up with nature surrounding me; each year camping in the Adirondacks was our preferred family holiday and fishing and swimming were our regular pastimes. It wasn’t until I lived in Brazil for a year after high school through Rotary Exchange that I realized my reality was a rarity for people all over the world. Increasing pollution, drought, and demand have lead to water insecurities all over the world, inspiring me to study the increasingly multifaceted topic.

What does being a student at Kellogg mean to you?

Upon arriving at Oxford, I was overwhelmed with the beauty and challenges I knew my time here would encompass. It’s the popular “imposter syndrome” concept that made me second-guess the acceptance letter I received months earlier. It wasn’t until I met people in my college that I finally felt like I belonged. Kellogg has provided the social structure that I needed to integrate myself into the different academic life compared to what I was accustomed to in the USA.

While having a young college can deter some students from applying, I find the newly established college to be full of opportunity. Rather than follow a rigid structure in the MCR, our flexible relationship with the college allows us to put on diverse events that strictly cater to student demands. There is so much room for growth within Kellogg, both as a student and as an entire college community. It is exciting to know that our individual niche transforms with the student body each year in a way that propels our well-rounded establishment.

Why are you participating in the WaterAid Mountain Challenge?

On 6th June, I will be joining fellow Oxford students and professors from my Water Science, Policy and Management Masters course to participate in WaterAid’s Mountain Challenge. This challenge is a fundraiser designed to raise money for the charity’s continuous work in Nepal. In light of the recent earthquake devastating the country, they are in even more need of support.

For the millions of Nepalese people affected by the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake, one of those first steps to recovering their lives, well-being and their dignity is access to clean water and sanitation. What little water infrastructure existed before the earthquake has been severely damaged – and in a country where half the population lacks access to adequate sanitation, and one in ten don’t have access to safe water, this is catastrophic. In emergencies like this, it is crucial to ensure that safe water is available and human waste is safely disposed of.

WaterAid has already started to distribute chlorine to people who no longer have a safe source of drinking water. A drop or two will kill the microbes that can cause a whole host of waterborne diseases including cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Cholera is endemic in Nepal so it is crucial that we act now to stop any chance of the disease spreading.

In Kathmandu there are 16 camps for people who are now homeless. All the water tankers supplying the camps have to use the same water sources resulting in a wait of four to five hours. Once the water has arrived at camp, there is currently no storage tank for the water, which makes distribution difficult. Only two of these camps currently have toilets. This is deeply worrying because people have no choice but to relieve themselves outside, creating the perfect environment for an epidemic to take hold.

As a collective group, we are dedicating our trek in honour of Dr. Mike Edmunds, one of our beloved professors who recently and unexpectedly passed away. Mike was a global leader in groundwater quality, hydrogeochemical processes and much more. His passion for water and geology was evident in his work and was disseminated to all those he encountered. Hiking along England’s coast in Dorset was the first time we met Mike, so it’s only fitting that he will be joining us in spirit as we climb England’s highest sea cliff, The Hangman.

Read more about our challenge here:


What are you hoping to do after Oxford?

This summer, I will be returning to the States to conduct fieldwork in the city of Detroit. I will be studying the factors leading to the controversial water shut offs that have gained national attention. Following the completion of my dissertation, I hope to get a job working on international water resource allocation.

Regardless of where I end up, I truly enjoy the diversity a water career presents. I will be able to work in the majority of fields because water is fundamental in everything. Despite not yet having a solid plan post graduation, if I’ve learned anything this year, it is to go with the flow.