Friday is World Toilet Day, and at the University of Ottawa toilets will adorn Tabaret Lawn for an event elegantly named The Big Squat.

While the whole concept might provoke snickers, Kristine Houde, uOttawa’s health promotion manager and organizer of Friday’s events, said that there’s an important message behind the silliness.

“Half the world’s population doesn’t have access to toilets or proper sanitation,” she said.

“It affects women and children more than it affects men, but basically it leads to water-borne illnesses like diarrhea, a leading cause of death for children.” Other activities at the university include a sanitation fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Agora, offering information on global and local water, health and sustainability issues, and a squat-a-thon, for which Houde said she’s been training.

“I don’t think I’m the best or the longest squatter on campus, she said, “but I’ll try anyway.”