TWO YEARS AFTER Hersha Hospitality Trust pledged to raise money for the nonprofit Waterboys for the digging of a well in Tanzania, Africa, the first well is set to be completed next month. The fundraiser is part of Hersha’s EarthView corporate sustainability program.
To raise the money for Waterboys, Hersha sold recycled plastic bottles of water bearing the EarthView name at its hotels and donated $1 from each sale to the project. The company’s Annapolis Waterfront hotel in Maryland sold 4,511 bottles while the Hotel Milo in Santa Barbara, California, alone raised $8,338.
“Our EarthView water bottle provides clean, safe water to our guests while at the same time offers life-sustaining water to a community in need. In this way, we can help address the pressing challenges we face as a global society while supporting our company’s goals and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” said Jay Shah, Hersha’s CEO. “Our first well in Tanzania will provide water to 8,000 people who previously lacked any permanent source of clean water.”
The well will be in the village of Unyankumi in the Singida Region of the country. The villagers have been dependent on hand-dug, individually owned wells that frequently run dry. A lack of water can lead to unsanitary conditions and can harm crops. Founded by former Philadelphia Eagle Chris Long in 2015, Waterboys has built similar wells in several locations around Africa.
“Our first year of partnership with Hersha has yielded tremendous results for Waterboys and, more importantly, for the community of Unyankumi that will be transformed by the well that has been funded,” Long said. “EarthView water bottles are another example of how the collective impact of raising awareness in multiple hotels paired with fans making one small action can result in meaningful change for thousands of people.”
Along with the Waterboys project, EarthView encompasses Hersha’s various sustainable initiatives, including energy efficient and water conserving features in most of the company’s hotels and an annual report on sustainable efforts in the hospitality industry. More information is available in the August issue of Asian Hospitality.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Lodging Survey, released in March, found many travelers seek out hotels with “Green Certification.”