“The mission is we want to have people get out in nature,” said Mike Atherton, philosophy professor at Seton Hill University and advisor of the Nature Club. “What we are out to do is get people outdoors and maybe they’ll enjoy it, and if they enjoy it, then they can protect it.”
SHU’s Nature Club held an event called “Give Thanks and Give Back” on Nov. 13. The purpose of the event was to clean up campus and get individuals involved in the outdoors.
“The club has been around under the name of Nature Club for about two years,” Atherton said. “Prior to that, the club was named L.E.A.P. for about two years, so the club has been on campus for nearly four years now.”
The Nature Club is run by president Madeleine Robbins and vice president Steele Eckenrode. The overall mission of the Nature Club is to “enjoy adventure, participate in service activities and promote environmental education.”
Monday’s event with the Nature Club was accompanied by not only members, but also fellow Setonians who wanted to help out.
“Here for the baseball team, we offer a lot of community service, and our coach offered this opportunity for us,” said graduate student MP Buckley. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to come and make our school look best as possible.”
In the past, the baseball team has also helped out with community service outside of the Nature Club. According to math and pre-engineering major Mark Colella, the team has helped the maintenance department on campus, the Miracle League in Murrysville and Feeding the Spirit.
The students and Atherton met on Sullivan Lawn Monday early in the evening. The Nature Club kicked the event off with a welcome to the participating members and fellow students.
Everyone in attendance was given either rubber or plastic gloves along with a large garbage bag and smaller plastic bag. The students’ task for the event was to fill the large garbage bags with any trash and fill the smaller plastic bags with recyclables.
The participants were then split into groups of four and went to various locations on campus to clean up any trash. One group in particular was asked to clean up trash in parking lot E.
“Looking at events on campus, this seemed like a pretty cool one and it’s actually doing something,” said Isabelle Schroder, a freshman chemistry major.
The groups stumbled upon garbage spread in various locations throughout the parking lot. The garbage consisted of plastics, cans, paper and other items thrown just inches away from the campus trash cans.
Atherton stated that there are around 300,000 plastic straws thrown out each and every day, saying “This is the last straw” as he continuously picked up plastic straws.
The event lasted around an hour and the group was successful in cleaning up campus. The Nature Club and fellow Setonians were able to collect eight full bags of trash. Four of the trash bags were filled with non-recyclables and four smaller bags were filled with plastics to be recycled by the university.
Prior to the campus cleanup, the Nature Club has helped the community outside of SHU as well. The Nature Club, along with the Chemistry and Biology Clubs, were involved in the “Adopt-a-Highway” event, where clubs took a venture off of campus to go and clean up Twin Lakes park.