All winter I’ve waited to open my windows and let the fresh air carry away the staleness. Busting the winterized seal, we welcome the April showers, spring flowers and warm sunshine. Spring cleaning has swept the city of Athens, Ohio. The 11th annual Athens Beautification Day took place this past Sunday, April 19 and everyone took their turn at tidying our town.
Largest Community Service Event
The Athens Beautification Day is hosted by the Ohio University’s Community Service Leadership Council and has grown to become the largest community service event. Connecting local residents with Ohio University students, over 1,000 people participated in 60 teams despite the rainy afternoon this year. Registration began at 11:30 Sunday morning outside the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium and soon the line extended up the hill towards Alden Library. Promptly at 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., the students and community members ventured out into the city to beautify Athens.
Cleaning Up Our Act
The 1,000-plus volunteers, divided into 60 teams, were assigned various streets and locations to clean up. This included the Athens “front door — the roundabout between 682 and Richland Avenue — and all the popular Fest streets among off-campus housing. Teams were tasked with picking up garbage and removing graffiti to brighten up the Athens community. In addition, extra attention was given to Athens’s “front door.” As this is the entrance to Athens that many visitors and locals use, this team was tasked with weeding, pruning, mulching and raking the roundabout’s planting beds. This project created a warm welcome for all those that are coming and going. Furthermore, the collection and disposal of the overwhelming spattering of garbage greatly improved the feel and look of our beautiful city.
Let’s Get Involved
Unfortunately, the Athens Beautification Day is over now, for 2015 anyway. This year was my first time participating in this community service event. With a quick slip into a plastic poncho, the rain was no match for our enthusiasm. When I first moved to Athens, Ohio, I was bothered by the prevalence of litter. I wanted to carry a garbage bag and gloves everywhere so I could clean up the areas I frequently traveled. College students aren’t known for their cleanliness but the local pride is no match. Each team and project is an example of the pride and love the community members and OU students have for the city of Athens. Regardless of this year’s event passing, we can all still do our part to keep Athens beautiful. Change is forged by a powerful example.
As we let in the fresh air, dust off the knickknacks and begin mowing the lawn, we are to remember that our community is an extension of our home. The Athens Beautification Day is a wonderful example of hometown pride and the power of community involvement. These amazing concepts can be proven beyond this one dedicated day. It is our civil duty to take care of our home, Earth. Starting a community cleanup project is a great way to build healthy relationships with fellow community members and the world around us. We all can make a positive impact in our own neck of the woods. Is there an area in your town that you’d like to see spruced up? How can you make your neighborhood more beautiful?