Volunteers ‘Cleanup Columbia’

More than 1,600 volunteers have signed up so far.
Columbia resident Sarah Ridenhour and her husband Stephen Colony collect litter April 15, 2008 on College Avenue as a part of Cleanup Columbia. The 15th annual Cleanup Columbia event will take place Saturday and has more than 1,600 participants signed up so far. Maneater File Photo

If Columbia seems cleaner Sunday, the volunteers of Cleanup Columbia are to thank.

The 15th annual citywide trash pickup takes place Saturday; volunteers will spread throughout Columbia picking up trash in streets, parks, streams and trails.

Neighborhood Services Manager Leigh Britt said the event is a great way for people to get involved in the community.

"It's a simple and relatively fast way to volunteer and help out our community and certainly it's an important way to keep our city looking good and pick up litter throughout town," Britt said.

So far, 1,600 volunteers have registered to take part in the cleanup. But that number is expected to rise, Britt said. Volunteers may register up until the morning of the event.

"Anybody that wants to volunteer can just come to our office, during a couple of times to pick up supplies and get their assigned location," Britt said. "We're going to be doing that Friday from 11to five or Saturday morning from seven to nine."

In previous years, the event has had up to 2,000 volunteers. According to the City of Columbia website, in 2010 1,473 volunteers participated and 1,405 bags of trash were picked up. In total, 2,262 hours of service were logged.

Several MU Student Organizations will be taking part in the cleanup.

Jazmyne Jordan, community service chair of the Diverse Students Association in the Trulaske College of Business, has organized a group of about 15 students to clean up both sides of Paris Road from Vandiver Drive to Brown Station.

"We like to do community service on campus and around Columbia, and it seemed like a great opportunity to give back to Columbia," Jordan said.

The Diverse Students Association is a new organization and, therefore, this is its first time participating. Jordan said she hopes they are able to do it again in the future.

Fraternities Sigma Phi Epsilon and Kappa Sigma will be participating along with sorority Phi Mu. The three are working together as part of Greek Week. Sigma Phi Epsilon member Michael Mahaffey organized their involvement.

According to Mahaffey, during Greek Week everyone must do community service, but most groups stick to one beneficiary, theirs being Coyote Hill, a home for abused children.

"They don't have that much work that we can do, basically our partners for Greek Week thought this would be a good way to help out," Mahaffey said.

Cleanup Columbia will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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