April 8, 2003

Greeks Clean Up Collegetown Streets

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The Greek community held its biannual Collegetown Cleanup on Sunday morning. The event, which was postponed a week due to weather, has traditionally involved only the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Association (Panhel). This year, it was also organized by the Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC) for the first time.

The tri-council involvement is part of an effort to improve and further develop relations between the three Greek organizations.

“We had a wider variety of chapters participating in Collegetown Cleanup this year because of MGLC involvement,” said Panhel president Meghan Dubyak ’04. “Anytime the three councils come together on a joint initiative, the event is more successful.”

Each chapter sent five to 15 members who were then assigned a street to clean. The entire Collegetown residential area from Fairmont Street to East Buffalo Street was covered.

“Collegetown is where we have to live, eat and go out to, so it’s really important that we keep that clean,” said Panhel representative Tara Cuskley ’05.

However, the cleanup is intended to benefit residents of the area whether they are Greeks, students or non-students.

“We are working to beautify the streets and show respect for the neighborhoods, even though Collegetown is not solely occupied by Greeks. … The Greek community gets a bad rap for causing problems, but little emphasis is placed on our programming that seeks to solve them,” Dubyak said.

Trash picked up ranged from pizza boxes and bottles to cigarette butts. The cleanup “show[s] our appreciation for Collegetown … it’s a great way to give back to Ithaca,” said Michael Taylor ’05, vice president of University and community relations for IFC.

The participation and “turnout was good, but not as good as it could’ve been,” Cuskley said. Factors ranging from cold weather and a rescheduled date contributed to a smaller turnout. Nevertheless, “people still came … and had a good time,” Taylor said.

Three hundred members of the Greek community participated.

“I didn’t realize how much [garbage] there was. [Collegetown] looked a lot cleaner [afterward; the cleanup] was definitely worth it,” Cuskley said.

Collegetown Cleanup is one of many philanthropic events organized by the Greek community. Within the past week, charity events have included a blood drive, a bowlathon to raise money for Literacy Volunteers of Tompkins County and other events hosted by individual chapters.

“People in the Greek system do more philanthropic work than [others.] The Greek houses stress philanthropy and service,” Taylor said.

Other upcoming community service events that benefit the Cornell and Ithaca community include IFC’s new Adopt-a-Block program. The program will focus on residential Collegetown areas and is “very analogous to the Adopt-a-Highway program,” Taylor said. Each IFC fraternity will be given stewardship of a block and will be responsible for cleaning it at least twice a month.

Although the program currently involves only IFC chapters, “we’re looking to expand it next year [to include Panhel and MGLC],” Taylor said.

Archived article by Diana Lo