Isabel Dubert, Contributing Writer
Dear fellow students,
On Saturday, Feb. 8, a small but determined band of juniors plus Raphael Bernardo forayed into the wilderness of the PDK woods to begin cleaning it up. The task seemed daunting and endless at first, but it had to begin somewhere.
Initiated by junior Ande Hawkins and co-headed by Hawkins and junior Anthony Masterson, Madonna RA, the PDK woods clean-up was a great success thanks to the environmentally minded students and their dedication to the betterment of their future alma mater.
Last week, they worked from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., targeting the main campfire sites, including the large clearing at the center of the woods and the traditional Friday Nights bonfire spot, as well as the woods immediately surrounding them. The result of their labor was a total of 21 large black trash bags, which were deposited into the dumpster at the back of the Tower Village Apartments. The difference was striking.
When the students went out again this Saturday to tackle the entrance facing PDK Foods and the main path leading into the woods, they were disheartened to find that the campfire sites were once again littered with garbage, much as they had been the previous week before the clean-up.
After so carefully and diligently working to restore the site’s natural beauty, the students were sad to discover that their hard work had been destroyed so soon. Bottles had been thrown into the undergrowth of trees, and others were smashed into the earth. Beer cans and bottle tops littered the ground around the campfire.
It is sad that no one seemed to recognize the service these students had performed for the good of the community.
“That is very rude,” one observer commented. “You would think they’d take a little pride once the place was all tidied up. Why didn’t their parents teach them not to litter?”
This Saturday, only eight students came out for the clean-up, but the group was still able to collect five bags of trash and over seven bags of recyclables in under two hours. Thanks to Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden and the biology department’s donation to the cause, the volunteers have been able to leave two large black garbage bins out in the woods at the main campfire sites. Hopefully, students will throw away their empty bottles and beer cans instead of tossing them into the woods and making more of a mess for somebody else to clean up.
You may not be guilty of trashing the PDK woods, but this appeal is written to all the students of UD, to those who care for her well-being. You have no right to complain about the ugliness of our campus if you do nothing to make it more beautiful. Likewise, you have no right to criticize the actions of others if you do nothing to change those actions yourself. So I urge you, those of you who love the University of Dallas, to take a moment out of your busy schedules and pick up some trash with us next time we go out into the woods.
If you find yourselves out there next Friday night, make sure to throw your trash in the bins instead of into the woods. The students and the whole UD community are grateful for every effort that you make to keep our campus beautiful and clean.
Due to the ongoing nature of this initiative, Hawkins plans to start a club in the fall to keep up with the maintenance of the PDK woods. We will need volunteers who are willing to dedicate their time and energy to sustain this initiative among the student body, so that we can pass on to future generations of UD students a responsible, respectful and nature-loving attitude towards the University of Dallas and the world around us.
A big thanks to all those who helped out over the past two weekends: Ande Hawkins, Anthony Masterson, Linda Smith, Jerick Johnson, Isabel Dubert, Raphael Bernardo, Kevin Seay, Mary Fougerousse, Greg Pimentel, David Deaton, Maria Buckner,Will Palafox and Carson Wignall.
The next clean-up event will take place Saturday afternoon on Feb. 22. We hope to see you there!
The PDK Woods Initiative