Student environmental coalition hosts school clean-up

Daphne Yu

Seniors Christian Ackmann (left), Cora Trout (center) and Methma Udawatta cross the street after picking up trash across the school. Photo by Daphne Yu
In the midst of the windy, 60 degree weather that blanketed mid-Missouri at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, April 5, more than 30 students worked together for the first time to clean up RBHS, an event hosted by SEC.
Those who attended the clean-up worked in groups of four or five, targeting and removing pieces of trash littering the school’s outside surroundings. Students preened areas around the north and south lots, the main entrance and the road divide directly across from the school.
“I was really happy with it,” Amy Vinyard, co-president of SEC, said. “We haven’t had so many people in a long time.”
Although SEC members were used to meeting Thursday afternoons weekly, they had only focused on collecting the recyclables inside the building. Even though this was the first time this year they have tackled a project this large, club leaders were aware they needed to recruit more helpers from the start.
“I think it was a group decision that we knew we we’re not big enough to do this,” club sponsor Denise Winslow said. “Not only that, but it should be a school-wide thing. So I sent out an email to all the service organizations and just said, ‘Hey, this is an opportunity to give back.’ Mr. Reed was the one who told me about Student Council, and … Mr. Martin announced it to NHS.”
For many of the volunteers, Thursday’s school clean-up was the first SEC meeting they attended this year. Sophomore Kelsey Harper came after hearing about the event in a Student Council meeting two weeks ago.
“We discussed how Student Council wanted to help participate and help the school out, so we all voted that we would all show up [to help clean],” Harper said.
Now, having taken part in the activity, Harper thinks the event was “a really good cause for the school to be environmentally conscious and pretty at the same time.”
After 45 minutes of improving the school’s aesthetics, SEC rewarded the windblown volunteers with a pizza party, a treat they deemed worthy of the work.
“Picking up trash is not a glamorous job, and so a lot of people don’t want to do it even though it’s the first stage for the environment,” Winslow said. “So we thought pizza would be a good way to show our appreciation. And who doesn’t love pizza, right?”
By Daphne Yu