Armed with trash bags, disposable gloves, aluminum grabbers and hearts devoted to community service, Auburn University students treaded carefully through tall grass and wet areas on Sunday to remove litter from Parkerson Mill Creek.

Now in its fifth year, the annual cleanup was completed by members of the Alternative Student Breaks (ASB) program in collaboration with the university’s Department of Risk Management and Safety (RMS).

“Twice a year, we try to do a creek cleanup to remove trash from Parkerson Mill Creek,” said Tom McCauley, environmental programs manager with RMS. “It’s often overlooked. The university is built on top of much of the creek until it’s revealed at the area near the Beard Eaves Memorial Coliseum.”

Students help with cleaning efforts each year, which is needed as trash flows through the streets and eventually into the creek, McCauley said.

“This trash is not treated and pollutes our stream,” he added.

‘Glad to give back’

ASB members remained attentive to their task as they labored to remove trash from the creek and campus.

Katie Thomas, a junior majoring in nursing, remarked how it felt “great” to help out.

“I’m glad to give back to keep our school beautiful,” Thomas said.

William Mathews, a senior majoring in business administration, said the ASB program helps communities in need, and he looked forward to keeping Auburn clean.

“Keep it as a great place to live,” he said.

Natalie George and Rachel Pilato shared similar sentiments.

“Auburn does a good job cleaning up what you can see,” said George, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering, who noted how litter around the creek can go unnoticed. “What you can’t see is where the problem lies.”

Pilato said Auburn has affected her in many positive ways academically.

“So it’s great to give back in other ways to show my appreciation,” she added.

About 15 bags of trash were filled by 4 p.m. when the cleanup concluded, McCauley later reported, also noting his appreciation for the students.

“A big ‘thank you’ to the ASB team for their hard work and positive reflection of Auburn University,” he said.

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