The ultimate birthday present

After realizing he had too much and didn’t need more, Dane Anderson decided to donate all his birthday proceeds to a non-profit charity. Photos Courtesy of Dane Anderson

Freshman Dane Anderson doesn’t like to make birthday lists. So instead of getting a bunch of presents that would be nice to have but serve no purpose for his 24th birthday, he asked for something different.

He asked his friends and family to donate whatever money they would spend on him to “charity: water,” a non-profit organization devoted to bringing clean water to those who don’t have it.

“charity: water” was initially founded by Scott Harrison on his 31st birthday in 2006. Harrison, a prominent party promoter in New York City, had the realization that he had far too many possessions that he took for granted while people in other countries didn’t even have clean water to drink.

Harrison threw himself a birthday party and asked everyone who came to bring $20 to donate instead of gifts. Over 700 people came to the party, and with that money they funded six water wells for a refugee camp in Uganda.

Since the founding of “charity: water,” the organization has raised over 10 million dollars, which translates to 721,000 people in 15 countries that now have clean water to drink.

Anderson, upon hearing about the charity, was inspired to give up his own birthday and help the cause. So far, he has raised over $1000 – nearly half of his original goal of $2200.

“I am so thrilled. I have been blown away at how generous people are,” Anderson said. “[But] I can’t help mention that we can do so much more. If every student at UVU gave 25 cents we would raise over $8000.”

It only takes $5000 to build a well and provide water for a community of 250 people through “charity: water.” If students took the time to donate even more, just think about how many lives could be affected.

Anderson urges students to help, saying, “There are over 30,000 undergraduates here at UVU. If we could get everyone to donate something as small as $1 imagine how much money we could raise. Twenty dollars gives someone in our world clean drinking water for the rest of their lives.”

Students interested in donating “charity: water” for Dane Anderson’s birthday can do so by visiting http://MyCharityWater.org/My22ndBirthday. Donations will be open until April.

Where are you from?
Orem, Utah

What made you choose to come to UVU?
It is a great school close to home.

What has been your favorite UVU class?
It’s a tie between my Intro to Business Class and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

How about your favorite UVU professor?
Douglas G. Miller and Grant Flygare.

What do you do when you’re not a student?  Do you have a job or any unusual or interesting hobbies?
I love playing with my nieces and my nephew. I love sports, [especially] football. I enjoy writing, politics, meeting new people, non-profit organizations, traveling and making a difference.

I can also speak like Donald Duck – that is my stupid human trick.

Why do you get up in the morning, or what motivates you to do the things you do?
When I was a teenager I came across a quote [from Thomas Edison] that has stayed with me:  “You know the ambition of a man by whether or not he loves his alarm clock in the morning.”

Ever since I read this quote, I have strived each day to live up to becoming ambitious. I feel like we have time and we can utilize it for so much good. Some days you may wake up and feel like death, but you are 100% in control of how you choose to feel. Sure there are many extrinsic forces that influence you but ultimately it is up to you to decide what to do with those influences.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Facebook. (Dane calls it “a black hole of uselessness.”)

What current popular phenomenon is something that you just won’t ever understand or like?
The Green Bay Packers. Yuck!

In your opinion, what is the most beautiful place on earth and why?
Lithuania. I don’t know how to describe why. When something finds itself in your heart it is just called beautiful.

Zombies or vampires?
Team Alice… duh!

If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow UVU students, what would it be?
Don’t wait to be you. Each of us [has] intrinsic hopes, dreams, talents and things we are receptive to. All these things are a light in us. Don’t choose a major because of the pay you will receive in a career. Evaluate the things you love. It will be much easier for you to shine and let that light in you illuminate the path for others if you are doing something you care about. The money will come if you do the things you love also because you will be good at it.

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