AAA makes difference in MKT stream

The organization sent seven members to clean the stream Saturday afternoon.
Asian American Association members Michael Sun, Duc Huynh and Nuria Mathog clean the MKT Trail off of Providence Road. "I use the MKT trail often and it seemed full of trash like it really didn't belong there and I decided to organize a cleanup," said Mathog, who is the AAA service chairwoman.

While many MU students prepared for the final Border Showdown on Saturday, seven members of the Asian American Association decided to make the stream that runs through the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail a little more beautiful.

“I've actually been wanting to do a stream cleanup event for a while,” said Nuria Mathog, sophomore and service chairwoman for AAA. “The MKT trail is one of my favorite places in Columbia, and every time I head out there, I always see a worrying amount of trash in the stream. This really bothers me because I believe that we have a responsibility to care for our environment and disposing of trash in a responsible manner takes very little effort.”

Mathog said the cleanup consisted of hiking along the MKT trail, picking trash out of the stream and placing it in garbage bags. Participants concluded the event with a short picnic out on the trail.

“I think the event went pretty well,” Mathog said. “We cleared seven large garbage bags worth of trash out of the stream, and the weather was perfect for it.”

Freshman Tina Zhang said helping make the environment beautiful was a good way to give back to the Columbia community.

“Cleaning up the MKT Trail was an awesome, unique way to give back to the community because you get to be out in nature,” Zhang said. “Out of all the ways to volunteer and give back to Columbia, being outdoors is probably my favorite.”

Zhang also said though the experience was an enjoyable one, cleaning the stream was eye-opening.

“It was sad to see how much trash people threw into the stream and the surrounding area,” Zhang said. “There were cigarette butts, beer bottles, cups, straws and broken pencils and pens everywhere. Although there were only seven of us and we were only there for two hours or so, I think we made a difference. Being there made me wonder how often people come out to the trail to clean up because it seemed like some of the trash had been there for a really long time.”

Sophomore Danny Poon said the experience was as important to the AAA as an organization as it was to those participating.

“I think for most of the service events, we do community service to show that we as Asian Americans can help out the community as much as anyone else,” Poon said. “Also, I love doing service work because Asian Americans have gotten help to get to where we are now.”

Poon said from the experience he learned that one never knows what they will find when cleaning trash out of a stream.

“We found a pair of boxer briefs in the stream,” he said. “Didn't want to think too much into (why they were there).”

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