University Heights, Buffalo, NY

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UB Gets Dirty

UB gets dirty
Ashley Smith, Staff Writer

UB students recently put down their pens and notebooks and picked up shovels, brooms, rakes and gloves to pick up trash around the University Heights.

The students were participating in UB Getting Dirty, a Student Association-sponsored community cleanup event.

According to Angela Jones, SA club services director, about 400 students participated in the community service project this year.

“I think we had a fantastic turnout,” said Jenny Harb, SA assistant community engagement director.

The project covered all of the University Heights area, utilizing volunteer drivers, shuttle buses and sponsors to get students out onto the streets to clean up trash.

“At first I thought [UB Getting Dirty] would be really lame … picking up trash really early in the morning, but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun and I felt really good doing it,” said Caraline Stocker, a sophomore art major.

UB Getting Dirty was started four years ago to encourage UB students and clubs to give back to their community. The project satisfies some of the student clubs’ mandatory community service requirement.

“It gives us an opportunity to better the community that we actually inhabit,” said Chloe Lake, a sophomore undecided major.

Angela Reale, a senior nursing major, has participated in UB Getting Dirty several times.

“We used to have competitions to see who could find the best piece of garbage,” Reale said. “It’s a good way to get groups together, get to know people and help the community at the same time.”

Other students also expressed the value that community service has had in their lives.

“When I was in China, I did a lot of community service,” said Xinyi He, a junior accounting major. “Last semester there was [a community service project] for preparing tax returns, [and] I did that.”

In past years, the event has drawn 300 to 400 students who were ready to clean up the Buffalo streets.

“[Japanese Student Association members] think that it makes the community stronger,” said JSA secretary Kosuke Higo.

As SA coordinators began calling clubs forward and distributing T-shirts and equipment, the event became significantly less coherent, according to several attendees. Though many students agree that this was a good cause, there was room for improvement.

“I think it’s disorganized and they need a megaphone,” said Ciara Trosin, a freshman undecided major.

Trosin pointed out that while these projects have their flaws, they provide an opportunity that allows communities surrounding UB’s campus to see students volunteering and helping others.

“[UB is not] making adequate efforts to give back to the community, but there is beginning to be an awareness under [President] Simpson,” said Gordon Connally, a University Heights resident.

Connally hopes UB will have a positive effect on University Heights and the city of Buffalo in the future.

“[Students] just need to be present in the community,” Connally said.


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