Student volunteers clean up campus, community


Brynn Artley

Student volunteers dropped off trash bags for pick-up following the Homecoming Weekend Clean Sweep on Sunday, Oct. 22.

Michaela Gaffke, Features Reporter

After Winona State University’s homecoming weekend, a group of students gathered Sunday, Oct. 22, for the Homecoming Clean Sweep. Armed with gloves and trash bags, the student volunteers walked from the Altra Federal Credit Union stadium to downtown Winona, picking up trash.

“Homecoming is a big deal around here,” Kendra Weber, director of student and community engagement, said. “I have heard complaints from my neighbors about the amount of garbage leftover.”

Weber has been organizing the Clean Sweep for the last four years, starting it her first year on campus.

The first 50 students to sign up received a free Clean Sweep t-shirt, though students could still participate without being signed up. This year, all the t-shirts were given out.

In previous years, about 50 to 80 students have shown up to clean up after homecoming and have collected 50 to 70 bags of trash, according to Weber.

The group started at the Gazebo and spread out in every direction on campus, starting with the pizza crust leftover from the club fair on Friday.

Some students came alone, but others came as part of a group.

Alex Spencer, a junior accounting major, volunteered on behalf of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Even though he worked all weekend and did not get to participate in homecoming activities, he said was excited to help clean up the city.

“I feel pretty good about helping clean up Winona,” Spencer said. “I probably picked up 12 pounds of trash.”

Cloth gloves and gray trash bag in hand, Spencer helped other students pick up drink cans, cups, pizza boxes and even a rug.

Hannah Bauer, a junior elementary education major, and Samantha Johnson, a junior public relations major, tagged along in the back, picking up any missed trash from the others. Both said they came out to help clean up after a great homecoming weekend.

The students were instructed to leave their

filled trash bags at the stop signs on Center and Wabasha streets, where the city could come pick them up Monday, Oct. 23.

At the end of the cleanup, all the volunteers met at the Winona VFW for pizza and refreshments to reward them for their hard work.

“We just want to give back to the community by cleaning up the trash,” Weber said.