In the wake of a big Buffs football weekend, the University Hill and campus areas were littered with the beer-soaked remnants of tailgate gatherings and other homecoming activities. To help return the landscape to its natural beauty, nearly 200 University of Colorado students volunteered their Sunday afternoons to help clean up the mess.
"This really reflects the pride that students have in our campus and the respect we have for it and the surrounding area," said Nicole Colich, CU senior and director of homecoming. "I think it demonstrates the effect Boulder as a community has had on the students here."
Colich and other Hill clean-up organizers estimated that between 150 to 200 students, broken up into small groups, collected as much as 650 pounds of trash in the three-hour effort, which took place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday. According to the accounts of student volunteers, litter left behind by festive fans ranged from standard cups and cans to more interesting oddities such as a broken safe, a bag of marijuana and even a lava lamp.
The students worked together to cover an expansive area, sweeping the entire length of Broadway extending from Marine to Aurora as far west as Ninth Street -- a perimeter encompassing approximately 30 city blocks.
"We all live here, so it's part of our responsibility to help in cleaning up the neighborhood," said Stephanie May, a CU junior and director of Greek relations for the Panhellenic Executive Council, whose nine sororities were represented in the clean-up efforts. "This is just one small way we can give back to the community that has us for the four years we'll be at CU."
Along with the Panhellenic Association, student group Colorado Creed helped to mastermind planning efforts for the clean-up event, as well as contributing volunteers. According to Ryan Brauchler, CU sophomore and campus outreach coordinator for Colorado Creed, this is the third-annual homecoming Hill clean-up and the organization hopes to continue to take the reins on future efforts in the coming years.
"It brings out students to engage in community service and give back to Boulder in a tangible way," Brauchler said. "I have a lot of respect for the CU community for continuing to prove their civic-mindedness with activities like these."
To help show appreciation in their own way, several businesses participating in the newly-formed Greening the Hill Partnership contributed to the student volunteers by offering their unique goods and services to reward the students for their hard work. Among these contributions included deli sandwiches from Cheba Hut Toasted Subs and Snarf’s, pizza from Abo’s, gift certificates to Buchanan’s Coffee Pub, and more.
“The first year we did this, efforts weren’t as large,” said Victoria Garcia, president of the Panhellenic Association, who recalled only 20 students being present at the first homecoming Hill clean-up. “It’s been neat to see it grow over the years and watch the businesses get involved. It shows a lot of school spirit for homecoming for students to give their time to make a difference in cleaning the community.”