The day began at 10 a.m., way earlier than many students wake up on a Saturday morning. It was a blazing 87 degrees, but students still came to show their support for the community, environment, and all of Saint Leo University’s core values.
On Sept. 10, a few dedicated students went out onto State Road 52 for a road clean-up. The clean-up was run by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, who adopted the highway under the Florida Adopt-a-Highway program.
Those who volunteer for the Adopt-a-Highway program take part in a two-year agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT), during which they agree to conduct litter removal at regularly scheduled intervals. Many miles of highway are adopted statewide by various organizations, which helps people to make a difference in their communities. The Adopt-A-Highway program eases the load of DOT work crews, and this lets them put more time to other road maintenance and special highway projects.
According to the department of transportation’s website, “every year millions of visitors get their first glimpse of our state from their car windows as they travel along Florida’s Highways. First impressions can be long lasting. Do we want them to see miles of roadway cluttered with litter? Or clean, green tree-lined highways that represent Florida’s natural beauty? The choice is an easy one: Adopt-A-Highway.”
The clean-up began with a prayer led by Rickado St. Fleur, secretary of Alpha Phi Alpha, followed by their vice president, Mikael Coleman, who explained why they adopted SR 52.
“Tradition to help the community, and show that we care for the environment,” Coleman said.
St. Fleur agreed.
“I try to give back to the community; we have to keep this area clean,” said St. Fleur.
Little things done by the Saint Leo community add up to make huge differences. One of the scariest things experienced while cleaning had to be the cars and trucks speeding by at 50+ miles per hour, causing sizeable gusts of wind. Un-phased, the volunteers continued to collect trash, from old newspapers to soda cans with liquid still in them.
Mikaela Masa, a sophomore, said she wanted to get more involved with the Universities’ activities. And this was only one of many activities she attends at Saint Leo.
“I love to help out, become more involved, and try to make a change in the world,” she said. “I found out about this event from an email that Edson sent out.”
Members from a few sororities came out to show their support. Blaire Huggins, from Sigma Gamma Rho, said her sorority is based on doing community service.
“We also do events for the community like this, such as feeding the homeless, working with the boys and girls clubs, and rights of passage,” she said. “I just like to help out overall.”
Jamie Ray president of Sigma Lambda Gamma said it’s nice to help out and represent for her sorority.
The assistant director of community engagement, Tom Martin, assisted with the clean up as well. Seeing staff members going out of their way to help with the community is something encouraging that all students should see. At the end of the day, three large trash bags were filled with garbage. To learn more about how you can do your part to keep Florida’s highways clean, visit the Florida Department of Transportation website.