Early Saturday morning, Rowan students piled onto a bus and headed for the shore. These students, undeterred by the rainy morning, were on their way to Wildwood for an altruistic reason: to clean up the beach.
Around twenty students attended the event, hosted by the Office of Volunteerism, Community Engagement and Commuter Services. Though more than double that number of students had signed up for the sweep, the foretasted weather seemed to discourage most of them from going on the trip.
“The event was held to bring awareness to how ocean pollution is a problem and get Rowan students out there to do something about it,” said Naveen Khan, the graduate coordinator for the Office of Volunteerism.
Provided on the trip were free t-shirts and fruit. As opposed to last year, students were encouraged to bring reusable water bottles and waste-free snacks instead of being given plastic water bottles and individually packaged food to eliminate potential litter.
The bus arrived at the Wildwood Convention Center after nine o’clock on Saturday morning, and students prepared to clean the beach by splitting into groups of about seven.
For the next two hours, these groups picked up garbage on the Wildwood beach, collecting a wide assortment of debris and participants separated the trash from the recyclables they found using different bags.
After picking up the trash on the beach, students were able to explore the boardwalk, get lunch and spend time with friends.
One thing that sophomore mechanical engineering major Alexa Aulicino enjoyed about the free time after the sweep was that she was able to check out the annual Wildwood 1950s celebration.
“There were vendors, food and live music outside the Convention Center, and that was really unique and memorable,” Aulicino said.
Once students finished their lunches and free time, everyone boarded the bus back to Rowan.
Last year, the Office of Volunteerism hosted a beach sweep similar to Saturday’s, except it took place in Ocean City. They partnered with the Clean Ocean Action organization, a group dedicated to improving the waters around New Jersey and New York. This year, however, the group’s statewide beach sweep was being held the week after this trip, which would have conflicted with homecoming events.
Aulicino also said she planned on attending the Rowan Environmental Action League beach sweep in Brigantine the following Saturday and will definitely do the Beach Sweep with the Office of Volunteerism next year as well.
“The weather [in the] morning made it so that a lot of people ended up not coming out, but I’m still happy with the results,” Khan said.
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