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Rachel Munn clears Mill St. of all broken glass and bottlecaps during Athens beautification day on Saturday, April 16, 2011.

Athenians convene to clean in yearly spring beautification day

Despite adverse weather conditions Saturday, a record number of Ohio

University students participated in the seventh annual Athens Beautification Day.

About 850 students and area residents registered to participate in Athens Beautification Day this year, said Brad Evans, OU Student Senate Off-Campus Life Commissioner.

“This is the largest group we’ve ever had … we had to be creative and put people on every street in Athens,” he said.

Last year, because of rescheduling issues due to rain, only about 100 of

the 350 registered participants showed up on the rescheduled date, Evans said.

Because of the poor showing last year, organizers were determined to hold the day rain or shine because of the high commitment level from the student body, he said.

“I’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm and even more positive energy (this year),” said Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl.

Projects this year included planting trees at Strouds Run State Park and flowers at Athens Middle School, graffiti removal and general trash and litter cleanup, Evans said.

“(The projects are) basic things, but little things make a big difference,” he added.

Despite the rain, organizers did not have to cancel any projects, but some were modified, he said, adding that those participating in graffiti removal focused on projects under overpasses and other areas sheltered from the elements.

“We (had) a good turnout, and I hope to see a beautiful city,” Wiehl said.

Many of the projects were developed in cooperation with the local business

community and neighborhood associations, said OU President Roderick McDavis.

“I am so pleased and grateful this many students are giving back to the community,” McDavis said.

Athens City Councilman Elahu Gosney, D-at large, said the day was a good way to develop the town-gown relationship in the city.

“(Beautification Day) is an amazing way to build a positive relationship between

students and long term residents,” Gosney said.

Although Gosney said local residents are hard on students sometimes, the great turnout to clean up the city showed that students care about the city.

“The student body gets a lot of negative attention at times, but I think this is

what they’re really about,” he said.


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