Linda Smith, Staff Writer
The University of Dallas-owned area of woodland located across East Northgate Drive, known to students as the “PDK woods” due to its proximity to PDK Foods, is a popular place for weekend bonfires, sing-alongs and impromptu parties. As a result of its popularity, it has accumulated a lot of litter and broken bottles over the years. One UD student isn’t satisfied to leave it in its current trash-filled state, however.
While helping a friend find a ring that had been lost in the area, junior Ande Hawkins was inspired to initiate a clean-up of the woods.
“The moment I entered the woods, I noticed it was really trashed, and it bothered me a lot,” Hawkins, a Human Sciences major, said. “So I decided to do something about it.”
Hawkins soon put up an event on Facebook called “PDK Woods Clean-Up.” To avoid conflicts with Groundhog-Week events, Hawkins planned the event for 12 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Several students expressed approval for Hawkins’ plan. Junior Isabel Dubert knew right away that she would participate in the event.
“Well, honestly, what prompted me most was that I was delighted to see somebody taking the initiative to start something like this,” Dubert said. “Even though I hadn’t thought of such an event before (which now I wish I had), I’ve always tried to be someone who throws away litter on campus, and like any other part of UD, seeing the woods all trashed makes me sad.”
Junior Jerick Johnson has found a haven in the PDK woods.
“The woods have offered me a space to be myself, to practice plays, to make a bonfire, to talk with friends I haven’t seen in a while and to sleep under the stars,” Johnson said.
The Facebook event has attracted a lot of attention; as of 10 p.m. on Feb. 2, 173 people have been invited and 19 have confirmed that they will attend.
“Overall, I’m really thinking maybe 20 to 30 people will be out there, but that’s fine,” Hawkins said. “As long as what needs to get done gets done.”
To ensure that the woods remain in good condition, Hawkins plans to make the event a once-per-semester affair, occurring toward the end of each semester.
While Hawkins plans to bring a good supply of work gloves and garbage bags for those who attend the event, she encourages attendees to bring what they want.
“If anyone has their own work gloves, they should bring them,” Hawkins said. “If anyone has a broom that can be used outside, that would make the glass clean-up easier, and if anyone wants to bring general-use gloves and trash bags, they should feel free. But they should contact me so I don’t oversupply.”
Students feel that the spirit of stewardship instilled by the event will affect not only the woods, but the entire campus.
“Maybe if the woods are less trashed then people will hopefully be less likely to trash them in the first place,” Dubert said. “Maybe students will also begin to clean up campus a bit more, too. I am so grateful to Ande for initiating this and the only thing better than us keeping it up every year as a yearly event would be for us not to have to do it again because the woods are beautiful and not full of trash!”
Hawkins encouraged her fellow students to think about coming out and dedicating their time for the betterment of the UD community.
“I just wanted to remind people that this is a great way to get out, have fun and do something good for the sake of doing it,” Hawkins said. “Too often we associate good acts with receiving community service hours or extra credit, and it shouldn’t be that way. We should do good stuff just because we want to.