With gloves, garbage bags and brooms in hand, students headed out in the community surrounding Main Campus on Saturday to partake in the citywide Philly Spring Cleanup.
“It’s more than just being a student or just community service,” said Omari McCleary, a senior communications major who plans to stay in Philadelphia after graduation. “It’s investing in what could be my future.”
Mayor Michael Nutter’s “Love Where You Live” anti-litter campaign boasted goals for the event of having 10,000 volunteers clean 5,000 neighborhood blocks of 1 million pounds of trash across the city, according to the Philly Spring Cleanup Web site.
“It’s important that all the students in our colleges and universities in and outside the city have a real connection with the city of Philadelphia and be a part of the community and what’s going on in our neighborhoods by participating in events like this and many others,” Nutter said after the event.
He added that this involvement reinforces the relationship between the city and its colleges and universities.
After hearing about the event, Temple Student Government and the Office of Student Activities teamed up to promote and recruit for the event, said TSG secretary Grace Obando.
“I’m so passionate about this, so it’s hard to put it in words,” said Obando, a junior public relations major. “But just to give back to the community because we are in the heart of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, so we need to give back to that.”
Volunteers cleaning a lot near 15th Street and Susquehanna Avenue were still enthusiastic about their community involvement even after picking up items including dirty diapers.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Ryan Overhiser, a junior communications major. “It’s a big joint effort, which is what Philadelphia needs, and hopefully people will keep it clean.”
Resident Aarron Hollis, who lives next door to the newly cleaned lot, said he was appreciative of the effort.
“I think it’s an excellent thing for me at least,” he said. “It’ll stay neat for a little bit.”
Following the cleanup, Nutter held a barbecue at Lincoln Financial Field where he thanked the volunteers for what he said may have been the largest cleanup in any U.S. city. But Nutter also encouraged its upkeep.
“This is our city,” Nutter said to the volunteers. “Treat it like it’s your house. Don’t be throwing that stuff on the ground. I’m not walking around picking up after you.”
Amanda Snyder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.