Student organization hosts Earth Day cleanup

Natalie Moses

Saturdays are not just for slacking and catching up on lost sleep.

This past weekend, as an early celebration for Earth Day, Kent students got together and made a difference in town while most people had yet to roll out of bed. The Kent State Human Service Management Student Association, also known as HSMSA, hosted its annual downtown Earth Day cleanup along the river.

The gazebo on the corner of Franklin Avenue and Main Street served as the meeting place where the group arrived early to set up. The event lasted from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Volunteers registered as they arrived and were each given maps and assigned different parts of the river and town to clean up. They were then given gloves and plastic bags to collect trash, which largely consisted of littered fast food containers, cigarette butts, plastic bottles and beer cans. As soon as the day kicked off, trash bags quickly piled up thanks to the group members and volunteers who showed up despite the chilly, cloudy weather. They even took it a step further and separated the trash into recyclables and non-recyclables.

According to Desiree LeFaiver, junior public health major and HSMSA member, the main goal of the event is to spread awareness about keeping the environment clean. Last year the event did not go as well as planned.

“We have always done well in the past, but it was snowing last year, so there were less than five people that actually showed up, which made this year that much more exciting,” explained Nicole Klasa, president of HSMSA. “This event was great compared to previous years,” she concluded.

She also noted the group nearly met their goal of 150 people at the event, and they were really satisfied with everyone’s efforts.

“We raised over $125 for Relay for Life, and about 100 people showed up from a variety of frats, sororities and other student organizations,” says Margaret Preston, senior human development and family studies major and recruitment chair of HSMSA. “We had over 50 garbage and recycling bags. All in all, it was an amazing turnout and really fun program.”

After all their hard work making the community a cleaner place, the participants were able to come back to the gazebo to enjoy great food and good times.

Everyone in HSMSA pitched in homemade Earth Day-themed baked goods that were sold by donations. There were also free refreshments donated by sponsors like Jimmy John’s and Pizza Hut.

HSMSA is a charitable student organization advised by Kathy Bergh of the Lifespan Development & Education Sciences department.

“I thought it was something really interested in because they do a lot of community service projects,” said sophomore member LaTesia Conley, HSMSA advertising and marketing chair. As president, Nicole Klasa wanted to thank everyone in the group and all of the volunteers for showing up.

“I am constantly blown away by the motivation, dedication and hard work of our members. We are such a small group that an event like this is so exciting for all of us,” she said.

For those interested in joining, the group meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at 6:15 p.m. in Room 152 of the library.

Contact Natalie Moses at [email protected].