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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volunteers tidy up campus area

    Physiology senior Tom Fernandes and undeclared freshman Pete Zolezzi take a burned couch from a porch at a project house near East Broadway Boulevard and North Mountain Avenue. The UA Mortar Board organized 14 teams into a mass effort to clean up the streets immediately north and south of campus.
    Physiology senior Tom Fernandes and undeclared freshman Pete Zolezzi take a burned couch from a porch at a project house near East Broadway Boulevard and North Mountain Avenue. The UA Mortar Board organized 14 teams into a mass effort to clean up the streets immediately north and south of campus.

    While many students spent the cold Saturday morning sleeping in or eagerly awaiting the men’s basketball game, 600 of their peers patrolled neighborhoods around campus with rakes, shovels and trash bags.

    The UA Mortar Board sponsored a mass clean-up that involved volunteers raking leaves, pulling weeds, picking up trash and performing general maintenance to tidy up the streets, sidewalks and yards of the neighborhoods directly north and south of campus.

    Participants were organized into 14 crews covering the area north of campus to East Grant Road and five crews covering the area south of campus to East Broadway Boulevard.

    The majority of the volunteers came from Greek Life, but some came from University Medical Center, the Arizona Model United Nations and Manos De Ayuda.

    “”We put in a good three hours of hard work helping Tucson look a little nicer,”” said John Siegfried, a volunteer from the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and a pre-business freshman. “”It’s definitely a good project.””

    Most of the work took place on the sidewalks, streets and alleys, as well as on city and university property. But some elderly or disabled residents of the neighborhoods also received assistance.

    UA President Robert Shelton paid a visit to the crews north of campus to thank them for their service and chatted with residents who were delighted to have the extra help in the upkeep of their community.

    One area that received a great deal of attention was a park on the border of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood, on East Lester Street between North Cherry Avenue and North Vine Street.

    The space was slated to become a parking lot two years ago, but local residents met with former UA President Peter Likins and had the area converted into a desert landscape featuring cactus, trees and desert plants donated by community members, said Jessie Byrd, a Jefferson Park resident who designed the park.

    Crews at the park picked up dead branches and maintained the paths.

    “”It would have been heartbreaking if they had made this a parking lot,”” said resident Paula Fan, whose house borders the park. “”It’s nice to have these volunteers come and make sure this beautiful asset to our community stays beautiful.””

    This is the first time the event has been held, but Mortar Board President Laurel Cox said she hopes it not only becomes an annual event, but also expands in scope.

    “”There are buildings in these neighborhoods that need to be repaired, and we would like to extend the area we cover in the future,”” she said. “”This is a great start.””

    Mortar Board is a national honor society focusing on academic excellence, leadership experience and community service.

    In addition to the Mortar Board, the UA’s Office of Community Relations and Tucson Wards, the project was jointly sponsored by University Medical Center, Ace Hardware, Casa Bonita, the BIO5 Institute, Chris Eldridge Group, Lowe’s Home Improvement, El Saguarito, the Student Recreation Center and Coffee X Change.

    “”This is a great opportunity to let people know we’re here for more than just going to school,”” said David Ray, a volunteer from the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and a business economics senior. “”We’re part of the community, too, and we want to give something back.””

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