Students at Daytona Beach's Embry Riddle Aeronautical University campus are helping to make water safe to drink and use in Haitian communities.

  • Embry Riddle students build water purifier for Haitians
  • Project is their 9th installation; students travel to Haiti themselves
  • Group is fundraising because school lost grant for project

Now they're gearing up for another trip with a new water purifying system.

The Haiti Project is making all the difference with children and families who live in the poverty-stricken areas where diseases plague their water supply.

It takes a lot of teamwork from the students as they build a solar-powered water purifier from scratch.

"You ever seen a little kid so happy for water? It’s amazing, you get a rush of emotion," said Jonathan Prine, vice president of Project Haiti.

The Embry Riddle students are determined to see the same smiles from Haitian children again this year.

Prine and project president Rachel Hunt are leading the way to help clear out the murky water throughout Haitian communities.

Between orphanages and schools, about 1,000 more people will have clean water with this new system.

The trips the students have taken to Haiti thus far have been humbling experiences.

"They had no other option but to drink that water, knowing that the cholera was in it, because the other alternative was dehydrating and dying," said Hunt. 

"We'll go buy a bag, and we'll test it. It says 'clean water' on it, so then you're like, 'alright, this has to be clean,' so then we do the test, and (it) comes out that it has pathogens in it and has E.coli," Prine said. 

The project started years ago after Haiti's deadly earthquake.

This will be the ninth system installation, and their new design uses reverse osmosis to remove contaminants.

"That takes out all viruses, all spores," Hunt said.

"You go to any store to get a bottle of water, it’s just like natural to us. If they had the opportunity to just go into their school, just go to a water fountain and drink, that'd be amazing for them," Prine said.

The purifiers even provide jobs for the island's residents, as they sell the water and put the money back into their communities.

The machine is an overall opportunity for a better life.

"This just gives you the motivation to want to do everything you can to get it working," said Prine. 

The project lost about $10,000 of its funding from a grant the university usually receives to help, but this year they're fundraising and accepting donations.

The group heads to Haiti at the beginning of May.