Dozens of College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) students volunteered to clean up the streets on Saturday.
There were 55 students in total, along with several faculty members, who dispersed to areas on Adams St., North Lafayette St. and Wigwam Hollow Road. It didn’t take much of a pitch to get students to volunteer since there was a clear opportunity to make the neighborhood around Western Illinois University even more picture-worthy.
After rounding students and other volunteers up at Sherman Hall, William Hoon was impressed with the number of participants and how eager they were to get to work. Hoon is a COFAC Associate Dean, who first discussed the volunteer effort idea in the summer.
“I suggested organizing a COFAC service project day and it got the ball rolling,” Hoon said. “In COFAC, we believe it is important to connect with the community, and part of that connection is providing service to those we live with.”
In order to reinforce the idea that making connections creates for an engaging community, numerous other COFAC department chairs, like Billy Clow, also volunteered with Hoon and the students. Members of the Rotary Club were also present.
“We wanted to do something to make a difference and I mentioned how, as a Macomb Morning Rotary Club member, I have participated in highway cleanup and how beneficial it is,” Hoon said.
University 100 is a class offered at Western that is designed to make students feel more at home on campus and around the Macomb neighborhood. Staff members of COFAC primarily teach the freshmen-focused class, which is offered in more than five sections. While cleaning up the streets on Saturday, Hoon felt that the project helped solidify that goal, especially for the students enrolled in those courses who helped participate.
“The instructors encouraged student participation for the class, and the chairs and directors encouraged their majors and more specifically their student organizations, to consider coming for the cleanup,” Hoon said.
There is a valuable experience to be gained from participating in the project, according to Hoon. “The initial project lets the students know that they canmake a difference to others, even by starting to clean up their own backyard,” Hoon said.
Based on the attendance and eager participation from students, it looks like the project will turn into a regular occurrence.
“Many students mentioned to me afterward that they look forward to dong this again,” Hoon said.