Main Street Kent, KSU students work for a cleaner city


Kathryn Ranieri, a senior exercise physiology major participates in Clean up Kent on April 4, 2015. Volunteers from the local community picked up litter all around Downtown Kent as form of community service.

Haley Phillipi

Main Street Kent hosted its first official “Clean Up Kent” Day to help pick up trash scattered around the city on Saturday morning.

Main Street Kent, a non-profit organization focused on the revitalization of the city, has been organizing yearly cleanups since 2013.

The organization set up a table at the Hometown Bank Plaza with a map of Downtown Kent and allowed participants to choose the area they wanted to work in. Main Street Kent also purchased all the equipment needed, including trash bags, rubber gloves, dustpans, buckets and brooms, and made them available for volunteers to use.

Many volunteers were Kent State students who came out despite the cold weather to clean up areas around Kent.

Alexander Vinolus, a freshman integrated social studies major, has participated in various volunteer events in the past.

“I want to make the city look a little better, and it always makes me feel a little better about myself,” Vinolus said.

Vinolus and Noor Ramahi are both student service leaders for Kent State’s Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement.

“Small change makes a huge difference,” Ramahi, a senior integrated life sciences major, said.

Vinolus said he believes the City of Kent takes good care of itself already.

“People clean up after themselves, and the city takes action by having trash cans everywhere,” he said.

Heather Malarcik, Main Street Kent executive director, said each year the turnout really depends on the day the event is held as well as the weather.

“We just saw the need,” Malarcik said. “Especially after the thaw out from winter, there’s a big need to do a nice clean sweep before we get into the fun — spring planting and big events that happen in town.”

A lot of the volunteers said they thought Kent is an overall clean city.

“In comparison to a lot of cities in Northeast Ohio, it’s very clean,” Ramahi said. “There’s always obviously something to cleanup and do to make it as clean as possible.”

However, Malarcik said that just from walking around the Hometown Bank Plaza, she found a lot of cigarettes and gum.

“There’s enough of a population that just don’t have respect for the town,” she said. “What do you do? You’re not going to stop the behavior so you got to keep up on it.”

In the past, volunteers have found a gun holster, a large rug and toys.

Main Street Kent determines when a cleanup needs to be done just by looking around the city streets.

Malarcik said if they feel like after the event there’s still more to be done, then they will schedule another cleanup event after the holiday weekend.

Contact Haley Philippi at [email protected].