The Dumke Center for Civic Engagement and the Environmental Center jointly organized a Earth Day clean-up project, which provided 15–20 students with buckets, gloves and bags as they picked up trash last Wednesday around Emigration Creek at Westminster College.
The Dumke Center handles service opportunities on campus and has wanted to organize an Earth Day project for a couple years, according to Mariah Trujillo, community engagement co-lead for the Dumke Center and junior environmental studies major.
“We really wanted to do, like, a collaborative service opportunity on campus that people could get out and […] directly benefit the campus and the community,” Trujillo said.
The Environmental Center strives to engage with Westminster community members concerning environmental projects and events, however the center is not service project-oriented, according to sophomore environmental studies major and Organic Garden coordinator for the Environmental Center Lexi Leith.
“It felt like a perfect opportunity for department overlap [the Dumke Center and Environmental Center], especially because we’ve already worked so closely together through other projects,” Leith said.
Trujillo said many students might not go down to Emigration Creek frequently, nor realize the area is polluted from people leaving trash — an event like Earth Day clean-up helps spread the word, according to Trujillo.
“I think that the value of these kinds of events is to get people to care about what happens at Westminster,” Trujillo said. “It can’t just be the same 20 students doing all the engagement work. […] This really is a campus where a lot of people can be involved and that’s a really good thing about going to Westminster.”
Getting involved with a clean-up day is an easy and comfortable way for service-oriented community engagement, according to Leith.
Cassidy Orr, a junior computer science major, said she wanted to help clean the campus with her friends.
“It’s a good thing to keep our campus pretty clean,” Orr said. “I love it here. I want to respect where I’m at every day.”
“Any event that encourages students to come in any way and learn more about environmental issues or different ways to get involved through service projects or through Dumke is great,” Leith said.
Sophomore geology major Elaina Pierce said she joined the Earth Day Clean-up because there’s no better way to put in service hours than to help her own campus community.
“Understanding the impact that a small action could have, you’re not going to solve all the world’s environmental problems,” Leith said. “But it does make an impact and it can just make the space feel more whole.”