October 1, 2007

Tradition Members Band Together to Clean C-Town

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While the majority of Cornell students were asleep this past Saturday morning, 150 members of the Cornell Tradition and a handful of staff and faculty helped take part in a Community Clean-up in Collegetown.
Although the hour was early, members of The Cornell Tradition had good things to say about the program.
“I’m really happy to be a part of such a great organization as The Cornell Tradition,” Lauren Cohan ’11 said. “Not only do I receive scholarship money, but I also take part in some wonderful activities with some wonderful people.”
Funded by alumni endowments, The Cornell Tradition is a program that awards 545 fellowships each year to Cornell undergraduates who demonstrate significant work experience, a commitment to campus and community service, and academic achievement. This clean-up is the first of many service events that Tradition will have this year.
Molly Clauhs ’10, a member of Tradition and its council, said, “The Cornell Tradition members have to do a minimum of 75 service hours, a minimum of 15 of which have to be community service hours, as one of their requirements to receive the scholarship. As a result, the council plants service events, trying to match the interests of its members. For example, I hope to do some trail maintenance at the Ornithology Lab.”
As for the freshman Tradition members, the Collegetown Clean-up is mandatory. Not only does the event help the students meet some of their requirements, but it is also a social activity.
“The Communtiy Clean-up is a great way for the freshmen members of Tradition to get to know each other,” Claus said. “Through this first event, students are able to make friends with others that have similar interests.”
Although many would view the time commitments as restrictive, Clauhs said she believes that “The Tradition is not that time consuming because the program picks people for which work, scholarship and service are important parts of their daily lives.”
Despite Tradition’s various community-building activities and student involvement, some of its members feel that the organization is not a well-known program to many Cornellians.
“Not only are we trying to improve the community, we are also trying to spread awareness of the program,” Clauhs said. “From my experiences, it has been a great way to meet people, get involved in the social activities and receive scholarship money.”
Cornell Tradition owed its participation in the program in large part to The Community Beautification Program, which is a part of Cornell’s cooperation extension.
“This is the second year that students have participated. We hope that this keeps on going throughout the year,” said Eileen Sheehan, an employee of the Community Beautification Program and a group leader of one of the clean-up events.
Specifically, Sheehan weeded Dryden Road Park and planted mums and bulbs. The best part of the event, she said, was the group of volunteers.
“It is vital for our program that we have a significant amount of volunteers because we are able to get our work done so much faster and easier,” Sheehan explained. “It’s also wonderful to have students who want to be here and work. People who have never planted before now know how to.”
The purpose of the Community Beautification Program is not just to weed and plant flowers, but pertains to an overarching philosophy about helping everyone in a community.
“[We] make earth prettier and better for the community,” Sheehan said. “We beautify the earth so that people are able to enjoy the aesthetic beauty. Flowers make people happy and brighten up people’s day. We hope that it makes students feel more like home. It is great to see kids being a part of and showing concern for the earth.”