At approximately 6:50 a.m. on a Saturday morning this fall, 85 students started lining up at the front patio outside the Student Center. What were they here for? A queue for breakfast? Concert tickets? The new iPhone?
Nope. They were here to sign in for Beach Sweep 2017, a statewide initiative led by Clean Ocean Action to clean up our New Jersey beaches.
This year, the Office of Volunteerism, Community Engagement & Commuter Services partnered with Clean Ocean Action to take students to Ocean City, N.J. to clean up the shores. Two busloads of students, and two Student Government Association vans, took over 80 students to 825 Boardwalk Ave. to give back to the environment and marine life.
Although a cleaner beach compared to most, Ocean City, N.J. was littered with cigarette butts, snack wrappers, bottle caps, spoons, and the occasional forgotten shoes. Students, armed with gloves and trash bags, took to the sand and swept up whatever they could unbury. Joined with us were volunteers from other organizations and regular beach goers, as it was a gorgeous day.
Rowan students walked from 8th to 30th Street, picking up whatever they could find and marking it down on the data cards provided to them by Clean Ocean Action. Once finished, the volunteers enjoyed the local boardwalk before the cold weather closed everything down.
It was a beautiful day weather-wise, the sun was out and so were the Ocean City residents. We couldn’t have picked a better day to sweep the beach! I was really excited to see how many students were eager to help.
I was one of the lucky ones tasked with organizingRowan’s participation in the project. Many departments came together to help make this project become reality: Harley Flack Mentoring brought mentors and mentees, Gourmet Dining provided snack bags for the drive down, the Honor’s College sponsored one of the buses, and Student Center and Campus Activities helped set up the check in tables on the front patio.
We really couldn’t have done it without everyone. I’m excited to see how it goes next year. Maybe we’ll try a different beach!
Story by: Naveen Khan, Cherry Hill, N.J. (Camden County)
Graduate student coordinator for the Office of Volunteerism, Community Engagement & Commuter Services
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