Helping Keep the University District Clean

November 18, 2022

Every month during the academic year, students have the opportunity to recycle and keep off-campus litter-free through Community Clean Ups. 

When the program started in September, only 11 people showed up to help. By the October and November clean-ups, that number had grown to approximately 80 each time. They collected 101 bags of trash and recycling in total.

The initiative aims to bring the Ohio State community together through civic engagement, care for the environment and improved living conditions in the University District.

The effort is a collaboration among a number of organizations, including Student Life’s Willie J. Young Sr. Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement office (OCCSE), their student Community Ambassadors, Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Sorority and Fraternity Life and Keep Columbus Beautiful. 

“It was amazing to see how many Buckeyes cared so much about the environment to take time out of their Sunday morning to clean up,” said Jack Tumulty, USG director of student affairs. USG provides funding for student organizations that participate.

Keep Columbus Beautiful provided tools including gloves, trash bags, trash grabbers and other supplies. Community Ambassadors transported those supplies to the off-campus neighborhood.

“As a Community Ambassador, I work to educate students and neighbors of resources, like the Community Clean Ups, available to them because this is usually the first-time students are living on their own,” says Lucky Katneni. “I genuinely encourage people to volunteer not only because it feels good, but also because we live here and we should work together to create a better experience for everyone.”

A February 2022 third-party safety report published by the Security Risk Management Consultants indicated that proactive management and maintenance practices in the University District could contribute to combatting off-campus crime. The recommendations included removing graffiti, pulling weeds, removing litter or trash, pruning trees and bushes and adding lights. “Appropriate, regular maintenance protects the public health, safety and welfare in all existing facilities and spaces,” the report said.

“It started out that each entity, USG, OCCSE, and Sorority and Fraternity Life, was hosting their own clean-up events, but we thought it would make more sense for us all to work together,” said Teri Cugliari, associate director of housing for Student Life’s Sorority and Fraternity Life.  

“Sororities and fraternities host events prior to football games, and so being that they live in the neighborhood, they have a responsibility to help clean up that neighborhood after those events,” said Teri. “We thought it was important to take part in taking care of that part of the community, specifically trash after major football games.”

You do not have to be part of a student organization to participate in the Community Clean Ups. You can register as an individual and will be grouped up with other students. 

If you would like to participate in the University District Clean-Up events in spring semester, sign up at https://go.osu.edu/UDCleanup. Follow on Instagram @offcampus_osu and Twitter @OffCampus_OSU for more information. Questions regarding this event can be directed to (614) 292-0100 or offcampus@osu.edu.