Volunteers clean up campus, community

Rock the Block’s second annual cleanup effort left campus grounds and the surrounding community trash-free Saturday.

Outfitted with gloves, Rock the Block T-shirts and trash grabbers, 190 students came to the trash-collecting event hosted by the UH Metropolitan Volunteer Program and the Student Government Association.

"The neighborhoods were the dirtiest," biology freshman Douglas Machado said. "We passed a carwash full of trash, and that was our biggest project."

Machado said beer and liquor bottles were the most common items on his route from Wheeler Avenue to Holman Street, but kinesiology senior Anh Dinh found more water bottles and cigarettes on her inner-campus route.

"Cullen (Boulevard) was actually clean," Dinh said.

Students were also given service points, which the UH MVP tracks in a database. This is useful to students such as Machado who need it for pledging to UH fraternities where volunteer hours are a pre-requisite.

A contest was also held to reward the team who picked up the most trash. The winner, Team F, collected 15 bags and six tires. Their closest competition had 15 bags as well, but no tires. The winners received a UH car emblem.

After the cleanup participants were treated to food and a DJ. Vegetarian tamales were part of the table-long buffet for the hungry volunteers.

MVP Advisor 2 Cassandra Joseph said the large turnout was thanks to marketing and the fact the event was geared toward giving back to the community.

Joseph said they utilized fliers and Facebook as well as a weekly newsletter and a University Center banner to promote the event, which served as a kickoff to the University’s homecoming football game on Saturday.

Dinh and Machado said they appreciate the cleanliness of the campus.

"(The campus) is just better looking," Machado said. "You can concentrate more on your academics and less on stepping over trash."

MVP also provided bins for the recyclable items that were found around campus to be placed in, which many of the volunteers were appreciative of.

"That’s what I thought about every time I picked up a water bottle – this could be recycled," Dinh said.

Communication sophomore Brittney McGee said the volunteer work gave her a chance to learn about other students.†

"A clean campus gives you a sense of helping out the community," McGee said. "(It) gives you a chance to network."

Students can register to become volunteers for MVP at

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