High-water marks

Louis Power
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MUN gets big gift from RBC for water-related projects

The RBC Foundation is forking out $800,000 to Memorial University for water-related initiatives, a donation MUN is calling "historic."

It is the largest philanthropic donation the foundation has given through its Blue Water project, and a huge portion of the $1.4 million total granted to Atlantic Canadian organizations.

Graduate Student's Union president Catherine Jalbert displays the ceremonial cheque Tuesday presented to MUN for $800,000 from the RBC Foundation for water-related initiatives. Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The RBC Foundation is forking out $800,000 to Memorial University for water-related initiatives, a donation MUN is calling "historic."

It is the largest philanthropic donation the foundation has given through its Blue Water project, and a huge portion of the $1.4 million total granted to Atlantic Canadian organizations.

"What we're hoping is that this money will go to projects related to water, watershed management, clean water drinking supplies, etc.," said Greg Grice, regional president for RBC.

The donation will be used by the university's Harris Centre, which deals with regional policy and development issues.

"We love the fact that it's connected to rural parts of Newfoundland and Labrador where we think the issues around water are more pronounced for us," Grice said.

"To be able to bring the expertise from the university to the table to solve those issues, I think is a tremendous opportunity, and then to allow the applied research side to come in and engage their research."

Catherine Jalbert thanked Grice for the financial commitment on behalf of the MUN student union.

"It will probably bond the province more as a whole, because obviously, everyone wants access to fresh water. So that research is going to really help, not only in the immediate St. John's metro area, but also in the rest of the province."

The RBC Foundation handed out aluminum water bottles to show its support for reducing the use of plastic bottles.

MUN continues to work on phasing out bottled water at university events.

"Giving bottles to students, I think, reinforces what we're trying to do, and at the same time builds a little bit of knowledge about what RBC is trying to do about water," Grice said.

Jalbert said the student union distributed reusable plastic water bottles earlier in the semester to help get students in the habit of using them.

"They have to start thinking in a sustainable way, and I think a lot of people are really starting to do that," she said.

lpower@thetelegram.com

Organizations: RBC, RBC Foundation, Harris Centre

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's

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