April 29, 2003

Fraternities Pick Up Trash in Collegetown

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On Sunday morning, representatives from the Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters initiated the Adopt-a-Block program by picking up trash from the streets of Collegetown.

The event was a “launching of a program that will really take effect in the fall,” said Michael Taylor ’05, vice president of University and community relations for the IFC. The program aims to keep the neighborhoods of Collegetown and West Campus clean during the entire year.

Fraternity members met at The Nines with Susan Bloomenthal and Carolyn Peterson, members of the Ithaca Common Council (D-4th), and county legislator Nancy Schuler.

“We’re really pleased with [the program]. It’s an excellent community relations tool,” Peterson said.

Fraternity members then started in Collegetown by picking up trash. Most volunteers returned within 15 minutes with bags full of garbage.

“I know they did a thorough cleanup. … I’m happy about how much [trash] they found but disappointed about how much is out there,” Peterson said.

The program is modeled after the Adopt-a-Highway program. Fraternities take stewardship of individual streets and are responsible for cleaning them at least once a month during the winter and at least twice a month during warmer seasons. Chapters will also develop contacts with residents in the neighborhood. Currently, there are 15 fraternities participating in the program.

“I was really impressed with the excellent turnout because I know it’s the last week of classes,” Peterson said.

The program will include all IFC houses in the fall.

The Adopt-a-Block program upholds the same principles as the annual Greek Collegetown Cleanup, a biannual event where students from all chapters remove trash from the Collegetown area.

“This is a way of continuing our support for the community throughout the year,” Taylor said.

Adopt-a-Block is currently an IFC activity, but the council hopes to expand it to include the Panhellenic Association and Multicultural Greek Letter Council chapters next year.

The cleanup is intended to benefit residents of Ithaca and improve relations between the residents and Greeks.

“I see [Adopt-a-Block] as a clear way to demonstrate to the community our commitment to build a positive relationship with the residents. The need to repair this relationship is apparent, and the program demonstrates each chapter’s willingness to take personal responsibility in tackling this issue,” said Devan Musser, president of Sigma Pi.

Although many fraternity members live in Collegetown and West Campus, the trash is not generated solely by members of the Greek community, according to the IFC.

“We don’t believe frats are creating the mess, but regardless of the fact, we are taking responsibility to clean it up. [Adopt-a-Block] helps to combat the inclination that a lot of people have to blame all messes everywhere on members of the Greek system,” Taylor said.

“I’m very hopeful about this project. [The kick-off] was an excellent start,” Peterson said.

Participants in the event also expressed similar feelings.

“I am personally very excited about the Adopt-a-Block Program. … It feels great to see chapters working together to create a better community,” Musser said.

Archived article by Diana Lo