By Allie Mongan
University alum and graduate student Justin McKnight ’04 has started a downtown clean-up and recycling mission. Occurring every Saturday morning, a group of students gets together to raise awareness for the importance of protecting the environment.
From 8:30 a.m. until about 11 a.m. on Saturdays, students meet in the Smith Quad and then walk to the Fellowship House to grab supplies to collect recycling from downtown residences.
McKnight had the idea for a downtown clean-up project when he was with his wife and daughter in Hufnagle Park and saw how dirty the Bull Run Creek was. After pulling out lights and a futon, he decided something should be done.
McKnight came back to the University to get his masters degree in the education department through the College Student Personal Program (CSP). He also knows about living downtown and how the typical student treats the community he or she belongs to.
“There needs to be a paradigm shift. I want the perceptions of off-campus residents to change within the Lewisburg community,” McKnight said.
McKnight met with Dean of Students Susan Lantz to present his proposal for a downtown clean-up and recycling project. With the approval and support of Dean Lantz and Housing Services, McKnight received a grant to get the supplies he would need.
“Our goal is to make it more convenient for off-campus students to recycle, in addition to education, and to get the borough to recognize the need for recycling pick-up,” said Joe Snyder, assistant director of Housing Services.
The first clean-up was held on Oct. 15.
To date, 715 pounds of recycling and 302 pounds of trash have been collected which have mainly been coming from what is found on the streets and around some of the houses in the student area downtown. Flyers have also been sent to houses to encourage residents to separate and bag their own recycling to help with the effort. The recycling is sorted at the Fellowship House and then transported to the Wolfe Field recycling center.
The clean-up and collection will continue and the collected data will be presented to Lewisburg.
“We will present the data to the town to advocate for increased recycling bins downtown” said Ryan Tomasello ’12, an executive intern in the Office of External Relations and Economic Development.
McKnight wants to have students realize that they must be responsible stewards and members of the community. Living off campus means students are not only members of the University but also of Lewisburg.
“The project has primarily education purposes because it is teaching life experience,” McKnight said.
He has high hopes to grow the program and continue cleaning different locations, such as the cemetery.
All students are welcome to participate. Over the past three weeks, sorority members, environmental club members and residents of Fran’s House and Hulley house have all participated. Any student who helps with the project can receive Plan for Prominence (P4P) community service hours.
“It was an interesting way to see the aftermath of a typical weekend downtown. I take pride in the opportunity to live off campus and absorb a small piece of that culture and therefore I am happy to help make Lewisburg beautiful,” Anne Sequeira ’12 said.
For more information contact Justin McKnight ([email protected]) or Housing Services.