In the Spotlight: The University of Chicago Goes Green: Students Lend a Hand to Local Communities

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by Anne Groggel, UCSC Staff Writer

According to the Clean Air Council, the United States produces only 4.39 pounds of trash per day by the average person. The only two manmade structures large enough to be seen from outer space are the Great Wall of China and the New York landfill, "Fresh Kills". In recent years countless lectures and carbon emission policies have been leading stories but abstract talks often negate individual actions. Student lifestyles like our housing in an on-campus dorm room or off-campus apartment , or even what we eat, can contribute to the greenhouse gas emission that are contributing to global warming. Issues like global warming seem too large for college roommates or even a university campus to tackle. Yet, there are many things each of us can do to reduce carbon emissions.

Necessary change must come from both the smallest and largest national levels. One person picking up a single piece of trash is one singular clean spot of landscape. But a team of volunteers on one Saturday can remove litter from an entire park. On April 17th, UCSC kicks off its Annual Spring Quarter Day of Service. Students have the chance to take a few hours on a Saturday morning picking up material from a local playground. Or, students can repay Mother Nature for their share of printing by mulching Washington Park trees. Meaningful change all starts small. Unplug your computer and phone charger when not using them. Turn off the water facet when brushing your teeth and take advantage of the service day to get out into our community and do some good. Our generation will be faced with the consequences of the growing environmental issues like climate changes more than any other.

The Day of Service is a service project from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm for University of Chicago students, faculty and staff members to join with the Friends of the Parks and the Chicago Park District for an Earth Day of Service completing projects at one parks, community garden gardens, and other natural areas.

U of C volunteers will volunteer with a number of community organizations ranging from community gardens to food pantries. Benjamin Murphy, Garden Coordinator for the 65th & Woodlawn Community Garden is eager for volunteers helping to expand the garden. "The garden is almost tripling in size and the volunteers will help prepare the ground for new plots. We really appreciate the help making a place for people to enjoy in the community."

Whether building new garden plot, helping to renovate the Broadway Youth Center, working with the Hyde Park Kenwood Food Pantry for this Day of Service, U of C volunteers will have the opportunity to work with a number of important Chicago community-based agencies. Spending time in service allows us all to beautify our community while heightening awareness of social concerns. Graduate student Barton Willage looks forward "to getting off the University of Chicago campus and to helping out the community by giving my time."

Pre-registration is required and students can sign up at or learn more about University Days of Service page at http://ucsc/programs/days-of-service/ .


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