Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to draw attention to clean water crisis

Carolina alumnus Greg Allgood was among a team who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the global clean water crisis.

Carolina alumnus Greg Allgood (biology ’81, master’s in public health ’83) was among a team of 17 climbers who recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the global clean water crisis.

Allgood is director of Procter & Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Initiative, which provides more than a billion liters of clean drinking water annually, using packets developed in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Read an alumni profile here.) Allgood was presented with a UNC Distinguished Alumni Award on University Day last October.

The ascent to the top of the 19,341-foot peak included a team of celebrities, educators and others. Chevenee Reavis of was also in the group. Gary White, Founder/CEO of Water.Org and a UNC public health alumnus, will come to campus as the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor for a free public discussion on “Changing the World through Innovation” March 4 at 5:30 p.m. He will be joined by John Kao, author of “Innovation Nation” and a former Harvard Business Professor.

The climb was part of the Summit on the Summit event.

The climbing team was supported and cheered on by celebrity activists Olivia Wilde, Dianna Agron, Justin Timberlake and alumni climbers Jessica Biel and Santi White (aka Santigold), who engaged fans via social media and created a real-time call to action during the expedition.

Thousands of followers participated virtually in the seven-day, 50-mile trek via the Summit Seeker interactive game and shared the experience by viewing daily content, all of which was produced directly by the climbing team on the mountain. Through the game, Summit’s supporters on the ground were incentivized to take steps to learn more about the clean water crisis and help spread the message about the initiative globally. With a reach of 79 million on Twitter, thousands of Summit Seeker users and more than 10 million community action points accumulated, Summit effectively engaged a global population of supporters in a unified way to reach a single goal.

Melissa Arnot, Summit’s experienced mountain guide who a team up Kilimanjaro for the second time, expressed her gratitude.

“Each participant brought his or her own perspective and background to the adventure, proving that everyone has a mountain to climb,” Arnot said. “When you look at the numbers, the global clean water crisis seems insurmountable, making it hard to believe that one person could take one small step that could make any difference. But the climbers on Kilimanjaro proved that just because you cannot see the summit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t climb. I know that we have taken one step toward a solution, and I hope others will too.”