Photo Courtesy of Ana Dodgen
Students would like to help clean up the Illia Dunes after more than 3,000 party-goers left the beach covered in trash last weekend.
Park officials shut down access to the popular party site until further notice this week, deeming the mess a hazard to health and safety.
The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) is organizing a volunteer group to pick up the remaining litter Saturday. As of press time, 20 people were signed up for the event on CougSync.
CCE Community Partnerships Coordinator Tiffanie Braun said about 60 spots for volunteers are available. Students have been contacting the CCE since the park was closed, asking about opportunities to help, Braun said.
“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble filling those spots,” she said.
Anyone interested in participating can sign up through CougSync.
Roughly 3,000 pounds of trash has been picked up in the last three days, said Bruce Henrickson, the spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That’s a ton-and-a-half of beer cans, broken glass, foam coolers, shirts, shoes and other garbage.
“It was a mess,” Henrickson said.
But there's still a lot more to go. Henrickson said the three miles of ditches between the Dunes and the Lower Granite Dam need to be cleaned, and the swimming area remains clogged with broken glass.
The CCE has been working with ASWSU and members of the WSU Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life to coordinate the volunteer effort. ASWSU will provide a Wheatland Express bus, which will pick students up at 9 a.m. Saturday on Grimes Way.
“We wanted to be a part of (the clean-up effort),” ASWSU Vice President Derrick Skaug said. “We wanted the students to represent the university in a positive way.”
The Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life has also received an outpouring of support from members of the Greek community.
Taylor Hennessey, the director of scholarship and service for the Interfraternity Council, said he has received texts throughout the week asking if anyone would like to do something about the mess.
In addition to sending volunteers, the group will pay for trash removal this weekend, said Hennessey.
Several fraternities and sororities are planning cleanup projects, as well, including Sigma Kappa, Sigma Pi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Henrickson said last weekend’s 3,000-person crowd is a record — the largest seen at the Dunes since 2001. Many were college students.
Visitors to the Dunes can pick up free garbage bags, and Henrickson encourages visitors to remove their trash.
“We certainly appreciate when our visitors act responsibly,” he said.
Students who want more information about the Saturday cleanup project can visit the CCE Facebook page or the group's page on CougSync.