Refuse and rubble the focus of volunteer cleanup effort

By Diane Ainsworth, Public Affairs


Volunteer Tim Pine, an environmental specialist with EH&S, cleared trash from Memorial Glade during the most recent Cal Clean-Up Day, in March.
Noah Berger photo

09 October 2002 | Does litter bug you? Then join hundreds of environmentally conscious campus volunteers on Friday, Oct. 18, as they put on their gloves and grab their trash bags to jumpstart Berkeley’s semiannual Clean-Up Day. In a few short hours, they hope, the campus will be clean as a whistle.

The event, sponsored by Physical Plant – Campus Services, begins at noon, with kickoff speeches at the base of the Campanile by Vice Chancellor Horace Mitchell, Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Coley, and Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean. They will be joined by Eric Haemer, director of Physical Plant — Campus Services, and Tina Poplowitz, Clean-Up Day student coordinator.

Berkeley’s spring cleanup in March drew more than 250 staff, faculty, and student volunteers. They accomplished quite a bit in just three hours, but the job of keeping the campus clean is a never-ending chore, says Steve Maranzana, an environmental specialist with the Environmental Health and Safety Office.

“Trash is inevitable here,” he says. “This is an urban campus with a lot of people. You can’t get away from litter, but it’s possible to minimize our impact. It’s everybody’s responsibility to keep our campus clean on a daily basis.”

The work crews will concentrate on specific parts of the campus. Heavily impacted areas, such as the eucalyptus groves near the Valley Life Sciences Building Annex leading down to the western edge of the campus, and the plaza area around Sather Gate, are two prime spots for litter detail, Maranzana says. Other teams will head for the eateries, such as the Golden Bear near the Student Union, to gather up food wrappers, cans, and bottles around outdoor tables and benches, while still others will fan out to scrub graffiti from the walls of buildings in the central part of the campus, wash the windows of others, and perform light gardening tasks around campus.

Maranzana will head up another team, the Strawberry Creek detail, which will clean debris and litter from the banks of the westernmost part of the creek, as well as in the water and near the storm drains. He is especially proud of the campus’s ongoing efforts to improve the stream’s water quality and its efforts two years ago to reintroduce several species of fish.

“Keeping Strawberry Creek clean helps San Francisco Bay,” Maranzana says, “because ultimately all of the litter in the uplands washes into the bay during the rainy season.”

The work begins at 12:30 p.m. Volunteers can sign up for one-hour shifts throughout the afternoon at the sign-up tables near Campanile, says Poplowitz. To keep it fun, student choral and dance groups will be performing near the Campanile throughout the afternoon.

At 3:15 p.m., those still working will reconvene for refreshments and a short closing speech from the chancellor. Each volunteer will receive a free t-shirt, a free pizza-slice coupon, and a raffle ticket to win one of more than 70 prizes donated by local businesses.

Poplowitz, who also heads up the student Anti-Graffiti/Anti-Litter Campaign, encourages everyone on campus to join in the effort. “The appearance of the campus reflects on us all,” she says. “We want to keep our grounds and buildings clean, so that everyone can appreciate the beauty of this campus year-round.”

For additional information, contact Poplowitz at or call 643-7822.


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