As the snow has started melting, the litter hiding underneath is becoming more prominent. Facilities Management organized litter pickups during Earth Week. Photo credit: Annika Schlarb

Facilities Management at Algonquin College hosted volunteer-run litter pickups for Earth Week.

As the snow melts, the litter hiding underneath is becoming more prominent.

With a vision to be a “provincial leader in fostering renewed college environment,” Facilities Management organized a litter pickup for Tuesday and Thursday.

Getting students involved on campus is a primary and essential goal for Algonquin.

“I think engaging students and keeping the environment healthy is important for the school,” said Chiedu Okwechime, an international business management student.

Volunteers were provided with all the required equipment for litter picking, including dustpans, gloves, knee pads and garbage bags.

A map highlighted zones where there is high pedestrian traffic and heavy litter deposits, as well as the areas where cigarette butts are normally tossed.

Amanda Barr is the grounds coordinator working under Facilities Management.

“The pickup will be campus-wide, but it will be focusing first on the heavy areas, and then depending on how many volunteers show up that will dictate how far we can spread with it,” she said before the events.

This is the first time a litter pick-up has been organized for Earth Week.

“We are going to try to do a pickup annually so at least every Earth Week and also one every September,” said Barr.

“The school should participate in sustainable actions,” said Nafiso Nahaned, a marketing research student. “Not only does it help with short-term effects but also long-term effects.”

As the coordinator of grounds works, Barr oversees keeping the outdoors in top-tier condition. “I oversee all the trees and inspect all the hardscapes,” she explained. As a team of only two ground workers, Barr said they are hoping to expand.

With new students coming in, Facilities Management wants to remind students that the Algonquin Woodroffe campus is smoke-free. If students smoke, they are reminded not to drop the butts on campus as it is becoming a reoccurring issue.

“Especially on grounds seeing all the cigarette butts around campus toxifying the earth and the air, I’d really like to see the culture change,” said Barr.