With rakes, shovels and trash bags, community service participants can clean up College Hill at 3 p.m. through a new collaborative project called Better Neighborhoods for Cougs.
Jordan S. Graham, the ASWSU director of community outreach, said the project brings together the similar goals of ASWSU, the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the College Hill Association (CHA).
“The main goal each group had was to clean up the neighborhood because that is where students live, and it is a main part of campus,” Graham said. “I personally think if you live in a community, you take care of it, makes you more invested in it and it is just a better place to live.”
Each organization manages clean up sessions on a rotating basis, Graham said. Projects include raking up leaves in the fall, salting ice in the winter and picking up trash along the sidewalks, she said.
“If there are others things the city or other residents of College Hill would like us to get involved in, then that is something we can definitely look at and expand,” Graham said. “The goal for now is to make sure people know the opportunity is out there.”
Graham said ASWSU allocated $2,000 from the ASWSU Programming and Executive budget for the project to contribute tools like rakes, shovels and salt. She said they will gather quotes from stores like the Moscow and Pullman Building Supplies, who frequently support community service projects.
“We are looking to buy ‘Made in U.S.A.’ tools for the project,” Graham said. “I think the fact that we are investing in tools is definitely a big step and shows that we are committed to the future.”
Katie Potasky, the Panhellenic vice-president of finance and philanthropy, said the project consolidates the efforts of Greek Sweep, College Hill clean-ups and CCE community service opportunities. She said the first meeting was like a brain trust to figure out how to broaden the efforts while making them efficient.
“I’d love to see these projects become something more meaningful to the volunteers, so that clean-ups are not such a loose structure,” Potasky said. “I feel now Better Neighborhoods for Cougs has limitless potential.”
Michael Schwartz-Oscar, the assistant director for the CCE, said the CCE has paired with CHA and Greek Sweep in previous years, but ASWSU’s involvement will help strengthen the efforts. He said they are thrilled with the collaboration.
“Ideally, I would love if we could continue to work together to streamline, but also expand and get a network of names of people like senior citizens who need help at various times,” Schwartz-Oscar said. “So many universities, like Harvard, have done similar projects to clean up their college hills.”
The CCE manages the
calendar of events using the SLPro program on their website and records students’ community service hours, Schwartz-Oscar said. The Better Neighborhoods for Cougs project welcomes all students and is open to anyone, he said.
“Having some sort of way, like through this project, to show students how much trash is picked up would hopefully make them pause before they throw trash on the ground,” Schwartz-Oscar said. “I am so pleased to see the various students who have come together to make this happen.”
Allison Munch-Rotolo, chair of the College Hill Association, said CHA will have better access to volunteer recruitment media through this partnership. She said CHA has provided after-football game clean-ups and hope to get more done with the new coordinated-resource approach.
“The fact that ASWSU executives have prioritized improving the quality of off-campus life for their constituents makes me optimistic about the future,” Munch-Rotolo said. “Everyone wants a trash-free neighborhood, and we are working together to achieve that vision.”
The next events are Nov. 4, 6, 10, 13 and Dec. 9. To learn more about participating, go to the ASWSU office in CUB 314 or the CCE in the CUB L48.