Katie Spotz

When alumna Katie Spotz, '08, set a world record as the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic ocean, every one of her one million oar strokes was changing lives. Spotz began her journey in early January 2010 from Dakar, Africa; 70 days later, on March 14, she landed in Guyana, South America. She covered 3038 miles in 70 days while increasing awareness and raising money for the Blue Planet Run Foundation, a non-profit organization that funds safe drinking water projects for people in need around the world.

To date, Spotz has raised $100,000. "A $30 dollar donation to the Blue Planet Run is enough to provide one person access to safe water, and now, for every one of the 3,038 miles I covered, we provided safe drinking water for life for one person," she said.

"Knowing that just one person will have safe water for life has made every one of the oar strokes it took to get across worth it," Spotz added. "Reaching the $100,000 mark is an example of how one idea can spark a thousand small acts, and I am continually amazed and humbled by the support behind this journey." She now speaks at schools and health/fitness centers across the United States and Canada to promote more personal responsibility for water conservation.

"Warren Wilson definitely played a role in who I am today," said Spotz. "It was important for me to be at a school where people 'got it.' There was such a diverse group of people, involved in so many interesting things, and this encouraged me to continue on my path." While at the College, she studied business and economics, knowledge that helped her fundraising efforts. She took a week-long Bike and Build service trip for Habitat for Humanity. It was on the WWC crew team that she first learned how to row. She says of the College, "I used to think, 'These people are all so amazing.' I was blown away by how inspiring the students are."

Much to her surprise, Katie Spotz was included in Glamour Magazine’s 2010 Woman of the Year list, along with some heads of state and movie stars. To see the article, click here.

Katie Spotz is a Woman of the Year because: “She used her raw courage to row the Atlantic, all alone for 70 days, to make sure people who will never know her name have clean water to drink.”
—Diane Sawyer, ABC World News anchor and 2001 Woman of the Year

Also, click here to check out Katie's progress as she rides across Africa for clean drinkng water.