Armed with gloves and trash bags, members of the Keene State College community took time to clean up litter in Friday afternoon.
Organized by Eco Reps for Earth Day, volunteers combed through the campus, focusing mainly on the bike trail by the Pondside buildings, first-year dorms and down near the creek that runs alongside the Spaulding gym parking lot. Event Organizer Victoria Drake said before the event that she hoped that the campus would step up and clean up.
“It’s our community, it’s our home, so hopefully people realize that help out and take pride in their campus,” Drake said.
Drake’s fellow Eco Reps member Justin Landry, who also helped plan the clean-up, said that he was surprised by how many people participated.
Director of Campus Sustainability and Eco Reps Advisor Cary Gaunt said that 28 people and members from the men’s club soccer team were out around campus picking up littered items.
Students who took part in the event said that they were able to almost fill up their trash bags with cans, wrappers and cigarette butts, and that the amount of trash helped them recognize the importance of what they were doing.
Some came in bulk, such as the KSC men’s club soccer team. Ten of its members came out to help pick up their campus. The players said that they are just trying to make a difference off the field.
Senior Soccer Club Member Will Holden said, “Being able to see a tangible result is very rewarding, so filling up those bags is that result.”
Non-student members of the campus community also spent some of their afternoon cleaning up. Keene State Staff Member Joshua Jarvis said that he wanted to do his part for the area in which he works and preserve what he thinks is one of New Hampshire’s best qualities.
“I think that’s one thing that’s sacred to New Hampshire…just the pristine environment,” Jarvis said. “Not only do we work here, but we live here too so we want to take care of our place.”
Gaunt said that the clean-up was an effective way of celebrating Earth Day, which has been celebrated on April 22 since 1970.
“We always want to be able to honor Earth Day,” Gaunt said.
Gaunt, who was working with schools such as Harvard and MIT on sustainability-based issues before coming to KSC, said that clean-ups like the one on Friday are just a small part of what the student body and campus as a whole does to try to help the environment. The problem, according to Gaunt, is that policy still needs to be made/enforced, and the work that is done at KSC needs to be talked about more in order to teach others.
“Sustainability here is the greatest story never told,” Gaunt said.
With Earth Week over and the semester winding down, Gaunt and Eco Reps members said that there are no more events in the works for this semester. The clean-up will take place again in the fall of 2016 as well as next spring.
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org