Neighborhoods get help from students, volunteers during Earth Day cleanup

Cyrus Nuval
Staff Writer

Students and community members helped clean up neighborhoods surrounding the Monroe Park Campus this weekend during the biannual Paint the Town Green event.

Volunteers at the Paint the Town Green event helped pick up trash from area  neighborhoods this weekend. Photo by Audry Dubon.
Volunteers at the Paint the Town Green event helped pick up trash from area
neighborhoods this weekend. Photo by Audry Dubon.

Volunteers helped pick up trash and debris from Richmond’s local parks and neighborhoods on Earth Day to help keep the community around VCU clean.

“By working together to maintain our neighborhood and city, the students VCU and residents of the Fan District build a sense of community,” said Bill Montgomery, a representative and rising president of the Fan District Association. “By (the FDA) supporting and assisting events like this, we remind some of the students of VCU that the Fan District is … also their community.”

The morning-long project started at 9:00 a.m. and dispersed volunteers into the Fan District, Jackson Ward, Oregon Hill, Carver, Randolph and Mosby Court to pick up trash and litter.

This semester’s Paint the Town Green project is somewhat different than past ones, said Joseph Quesenberry, an external affairs aid for the SGA, as students have become more involved with the event itself.

“This Paint the Town Green is more student directed; students have taken up more of the leadership roles,” Quesenberry said.

Although the number of participants and volunteers has risen over the years, Quesenberry said the event was pressed for participants because of many other on-campus activities that occurred simultaneously during the day, including the Relay for Life event.

“Two semester(s) ago, we had about 250 participants … last semester we had about 750, so we’re hoping to have increasing involvement,” he said. “This year is a little difficult because there’s a plethora of events going on … with so many things going on we are happy to have such a favorable turnout as I see right now.”

Students from the Management 319 class participated in the event as part of their class work this semester, and have participated in the Paint the Town Green events since 2010. According to Jacob Kaminiak, a teaching assistant and project president for the class, the class helped create the original Paint the Town Green event as a more active way to teach students.

“We try to teach the student management skills by actually getting real projects from the city of Richmond,”  Kaminiak said. “They’re not working on something that’s fabricated from a textbook; they are working on something that is real and something that actually impacts the community.”

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