MTSU freshmen Nicole Blount (left), of Nashville, and Michele Olivieri, of Murfreesboro, empty the trash they collected Oct. 10, 2012, during the Campus Cleanup Day in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo submitted).
A group of Middle Tennessee State University students came together Wednesday afternoon to spruce up a section of campus while also protecting the community’s drinking water.
And perhaps just as important, they learned the value of community service.
The MTSU Stormwater Program coordinated the effort, which attracted about 30 students to the east side of campus, where cleanup focused on grassy areas around the university’s detention ponds on North Rutherford Boulevard, near Greek Row.
Shelia Knight, environmental engineer with the Environmental Health and Safety Office, said many of the students participated through their health and wellness classes or greek organizations as part of community service requirements. Others said they participated out of a sense of responsibility to help keep the campus clean.
Knight said her office tries to host at least one cleanup per semester on campus, but also hosts other similar events near streams across the city. On Wednesday, she and colleague Amanda Sherlin signed students up, doled out cleanup supplies, and directed students to target areas.
“We try to get out and let the kids know why it’s important to keep the water clean and what actually ends up in the water coming off of all of the parking lots on MTSU’s campus,” Knight said.
She estimated that students would collect “a couple hundred pounds” of waste and debris by the end of the two-hour event.
MTSU co-permits with the city of Murfreesboro to improve the quality of surface water by reducing the amount of pollutants in runoff water. Removing litter from parking lots and areas near detention ponds on campus is one way to do that.
Nicole Blount, a freshman from Nashville, and Michele Olivieri, a freshman from Murfreesboro, were among students who helped to make the event a success.
“Just helping the environment, cleaning up,” Blount said of why she participated, adding that she picked up “a whole lot of trash” during her hour of work.
And she also had another important revelation.
“I won’t litter,” she said.