With the sun shining and garbage bags in hand, more than 20 SJC Long Island students and faculty set about Saturday, Sept. 25, collecting waste as part of the annual Patchogue River Clean Up.
“The Sustainability Committee is very proud to participate in these annual clean-up events in our community,” said Konstantine Rountos, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, coordinator of the environmental studies minor and head of the Sustainability Committee on campus.
The event, hosted each year by the local group Protecting the Environment in Patchogue (PEP), resulted in the collection of 350 pounds of garbage from the community, with more than 100 volunteers participating.
“It was great to continue this tradition and see our student clubs, like the Green Team and STARS, take the lead in helping to organize and mobilize our student body,” Dr. Rountos said. “We collected about 10 full bags of trash from the Patchogue Lake, nature trail, and Roe Boulevard.”
Volunteers cleaning the lake used a canoe and paddles purchased with the help of donors who supported the Green Team during the College’s inaugural Giving Day in 2019.
“The main goals of the Green Team are to promote environmental awareness, student involvement and sustainability,” said SJC Long Island senior biology major Brooke Shellman, president of the student-run club. “The Patchogue River Clean Up aligned with these goals by providing students with the opportunity to give back to the community and help create a more eco-conscious community.”
STARS (Students Taking an Active Role in Society) President Emma Tennaro was thrilled with the event’s successful turnout.
“With this being our first event on campus since the pandemic, I was very excited to start off the fall semester having the Patchogue River Clean Up event take place,” said Tennaro, a nursing major who expects to graduate in 2024. “I loved seeing 12 STARS members participate and enjoying each other.”
On-campus participation in the event was a combined effort by the Sustainability Committee, the Department of Biology, the Green Team and STARS.