Seth Raynor: Service Raleigh

Service Raleigh is an annual citywide day of service. The first year it was done was in 1998, and NC State’s Student Government and Park Scholars established it. Each year, volunteers from NC State and surrounding community unite to undertake a variety of projects. Each project provides much needed assistance to local organizations. The Park Foundation, NCSU Student Government, NCSU Inter-Residence Council, and local donors fund Service Raleigh. This years’ Service Raleigh was an astounding success not only for the Environmental Sciences Academic Program, but also for the hundreds of participants that volunteered to help make our city more pristine. As Environmental Sciences students, this volunteer opportunity is perfect as it reaffirms our beliefs and turns them into action.

Getting outside and cleaning the anthropogenic waste that we have introduced to our environment is a civic duty of all humans, but especially ES students. Meeting in the fields behind Talley on a Saturday morning, you get to see the immense amount of student support for the event. A few important guest speakers came to give all volunteers a pep talk before heading out, including the student body president. The Environmental Sciences Academic Program adopted a creek over on Centennial campus that we can continue to take care of and keep clean. For our Service Raleigh project, we went out there for the first time and got to work cleaning trash out of the creek. Greg Wilson, our advisor, and Lauren Huffstetler, a fellow ES student and intern for the program, led the way accompanied by eight other students.

The amount of trash and recyclables that we found was quite astounding. We ended up running out of trash bags to fill up by the time we got towards the end of our creek section. Some larger items that we could not put in bags included an entire bicycle and an old skateboard, both being too damage to be reused. As a group, we even found some items that could be reused after some TLC including a basketball, and a decorative troll head. This was a great bonding experience for all that went, and left the volunteers filled with joy after being able to help clean up our environment.