Senior Jessica Laporte is dedicated to causes both on and off campus. In addition to holding leadership positions in the Interdenominational Christian Fellowship (ICF) and Tufts Mountain Club (TMC), Laporte is working to develop international clean water solutions. In less than a month, Laporte will move to Haiti, where she will work for a year with Community Chlorinators – a home water chlorination business that will train entrepreneurs to test and treat water, as well as to educate others about water treatment.
Community Chlorinators will be the first enterprise launched by the Archimedes Project, an initiative working to bring clean water and sanitation measures to global populations in need. After working as a freshman intern at LIFT – an organization which pairs disadvantaged individuals with advocates who help them attain economic stability – Laporte has spent much of her senior year working with the Archimedes Project to promote and develop Community Chlorinators.
Laporte attended the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. this past spring, where she presented her work with Community Chlorinators. She also received a grant from the Tisch College for her upcoming work in Haiti. Laporte advised undergrads to be aware of how much grant funding is at their fingertips.
“I felt like I found a hidden treasure every time,” she said. “I think there were definitely things early in my Tufts career that I said, ‘No, I can’t do that, I don’t have the money to do that, I need to travel there … or I need to make money this summer and work.’ I ended up getting the summer internship grants and that allowed me to do some things I thought I had to give up.”
Laporte will graduate with a degree in international relations, concentrating in global health, and has remained active in various activities on campus. However, of the many groups she is involved with, Laporte said that she has made her closest friends through ICF. She also added that, over the years, she has witnessed positive growth in certain groups, particularly in TMC through her role as a caretaker and stewardship director.
“TMC has just gotten so much more professional since my freshman year,” she said. “We have a board of directors, we talk to Joe Golia all the time – it’s great. I love serving with them. [The members of TMC] just have taken really clear steps to be in communication with the administration and to learn from [them.] And they’re starting to be able to just get a lot more done and to use their resources better because of that kind of mentorship.”
After having established such a strong home base during her four years at Tufts, Laporte is eager to embark on a new adventure in June with Community Chlorinators.
“I was hesitant at first, because one of the things I said I wanted my first year on the ground working in Haiti was … to be learning from people who had done it before, and so it was really hard for me to say, ‘Yes,'” she said. “But I have really bought into the idea and am really excited to be a part of making the program [Community Chlorinators] happen.”