With large garbage bags in their gloved hands, 165 GW students set out Saturday morning to clean up everything from broken bottles to the campaign posters that littered the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.
Foggy Bottom Cleanup, an event that encourages GW students to clean up trash in the Foggy Bottom area, was begun two years ago by former Student Association President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar.
This year’s organizer, SA Vice President of Community Affairs Jeff Marootian, said he was happy with the amount of work accomplished during this year’s event.
“We collected almost 200 garbage bags full of trash,” Marootian said. “One resident said she hadn’t seen the neighborhood this clean in 15 years.”
Marootian attributes much of the success of this year’s event to the student organizations that sponsored the event.
“I’m very pleased with the turnout,” he said. “A lot of student organizations got very involved.”
The College Democrats, College Republicans, Student Association, Panhellenic Society and Residence Hall Association contributed to the effort, along with the Office of Community Service.
“I’m very impressed by the turnout of students,” said SA President Carrie Potter. “I’m increasingly impressed by the Greek community. To turn out in the numbers that they did, that shows something.”
Ellie Becker, president of the Foggy Bottom Association, said she is happy so many students came to help out the community.
“I want to thank all of you,” Becker said to the students. “When I went to college, this sort of activity was unheard of. It’s so great to see students care and want to make a positive difference.”
Marootian said he feels the event is one of the best avenues for community outreach available to students.
“It’s one of the best events we do as a community, for our community,” Marootian said.
Amiko Matsumoto, an employee of the Office of Community Service and a speaker at Foggy Bottom Cleanup, said she feels such examples of volunteerism help students understand their role in the community.
“GW is a piece of a larger puzzle,” Matsumoto said. “It helps students to understand how GW is part of a larger community.”
Some students said they agreed that these kinds of events are necessary to make students understand the community better.
“I feel there is a need for these kinds of programs,” said junior Bulbul Gupta, a volunteer. “A lot of students, not everyone, but a lot are pretty sheltered.”
Becker encouraged students to promote volunteer efforts on a daily basis.
“I challenge you all to make everyday a cleanup day,” she said. “Make it a habit to pick up one piece of litter everyday.”
Volunteers said the event should encourage other students to participate in cleaning up their community every day.
“I did something like this before and now I always pick up trash when I see it, and I yell at my friends if I see them throw down litter,” said Matt LeWinter, a sophomore volunteer. “We live around here, we should help out the community.”