By Kristin Canning

Ed Scharlau ’61 is bringing his message to campus about the need for disease-free water in Africa.

Scharlau helped found Water to Thrive, a nonprofit organization based in his hometown of Austin, Texas, that has built 170 fresh water wells in Ethiopia, assisting more than 100,000 people.

He is in Waverly this week and next to share his mission with local congregations, schools, and campus and community groups. 

“My class presentations on campus and in the community have been so special,” he said. “The wonderful aspect of all have been the questions — about how we started, what drives the process and how am I able to be involved and help?”

Scharlau will be participating in the Board of Regents and President’s Round Table, Friday, Oct. 14. He will have a station at the Renaissance Faire on the central campus mall Saturday,10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., that will include photos, website information and an opportunity to sign up to be emailed links for more information.

He also will deliver the chapel message Monday, Oct. 17, 10:15-10:35 a.m., and share a DVD about Water to Thrive in the Chapel Commons from noon to 1 p.m. 

Scharlau, a retired 3M administrator, wants to get Midwest schools and congregations involved in the fundraising effort. 

“My goal is to share our mission and turn it over for action. If a donation program results, it would be a blessing, as well as internships, class projects and somehow an Ethiopian meal that includes the larger community,” Scharlau said. “I have met with several Ethiopian students and hope to see more this weekend. Their engagement is vital and helpful.”  

Scharlau is hopeful Wartburg can begin programs to raise money and awareness for wells in Ethiopia. 

“The response has been refreshingly encouraging,” Scharlau said. “They see the crisis — the need for fresh disease-free water; the solution: freshwater wells and the joy of seeing smiles, children washing their faces, drinking fresh water — and know they can make a difference in the lives of others forever. They do seem excited about what may be. And I am hopeful about the future as we plan more to make a difference.” 

“Being on the Wartburg College campus this week has renewed my appreciation for Wartburg and all that is fundamental to Wartburg in service, leadership and faith,” he added.