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Eighth annual Campus Cleanup collects almost 330 kilograms of trash

Event unearths not one, but two Santa hats, plus other unusual items
April 26, 2017

Facilities volunteers weigh-in the litter collected during the eighth-annual Campus Cleanup held on April 21. Photos by Amy Dowd, University Relations

Campus Cleanup regular Parker Johnston found a stuffed giraffe toy, an old key fob and a $20 bill. 

About 130 volunteers braved grey skies and some early rain to take part in the University of Calgary’s annual Campus Cleanup last week.

“It was amazing to see so many people come together as a community for the cleanup and show their campus pride, especially considering the not-so-ideal weather,” says Teresa Holmes, recycling and solid waste co-ordinator, Facilities.

Cleanup participants collected close to 330 kilograms of litter, more than twice as much as last year. The haul also included the usual batch of unusual items: a boot, two Santa hats, a "feminist" picket sign, a coconut shell, a shirt cuff with the cufflink still attached, and an old overhead transparency marked "2004."

“Unfortunately we found a lot of items that could have been recycled in the designated bins on campus, like food and beverage containers,” says Holmes. “And the cigarette butts still seem to be plentiful despite the receptacles outside of every building.”

More than 50 teams of volunteers take part

More than 50 volunteer teams from across the university took part in the cleanup, including groups from Research Services, Active Living, the Wellness Centre, Hotel Alma, Study Abroad, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, who came from Foothills Campus to participate.

Many of the volunteers are regulars at the annual event, including UCalgary staff member Phil Johnston, special projects administrator with the Office of Institutional Analysis, and his son Parker, who participate in the cleanup every year in conjunction with Earth Day.

“I work here, I’m part of this community and it’s nice to help out,” says Johnston. “We had a fun time together and it’s another opportunity for me as a dad to teach Parker about taking responsibility, to leave things better than you found them and to take care of our surroundings.”

Parker made perhaps the most profitable discovery of the day, a $20 bill.

Awards for biggest hauls

Residence Services took top spot for the most litter collected, over 68 kilograms, while third-year social work student Karina Gillies was named the top individual collector with an impressive 19 kilograms, including a large roll of carpet. Gillies scoured the grounds between Family Housing and the Taylor Quad for the cleanup cause.   

"Sometimes you can feel very overwhelmed and a bit helpless when there are all of these causes that you care about, but that seem so far out of reach,” says Gillies. “Events like this allow me to be an activist and make a difference in my own backyard." 

A big thank you to all of the cleanup volunteers and everyone who helped out with the event.

Did you know? The university diverts about 20 waste streams from the landfill. See what goes where and help reduce waste year-round.


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