Several Binghamton University organizations came together to host a cleanup of Binghamton’s West Side this past Saturday.
The BU Entrepreneur Connect Club (ECC) — in partnership with Financial Literacy for Youth (FLY), Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi), a professional business fraternity, Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity and the School of Management community service committee — organized the event with support from the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator (KSTI). Participants first met in the West Side. Then, they strategically collected trash across the city in different groups.
Hung Tu, treasurer of the ECC and a senior majoring in electrical engineering, said the cleanup came to fruition after students noticed a large presence of trash on the West Side — a problem he attributed to the area’s heavy student presence.
“Since we have a large BU student population living on the West Side, the trash situation can get pretty bad once the semester starts,” Tu wrote in an email. “ECC sees this opportunity as a great way to give back and better the community that we live in. We first got support from our parent organization, the [KTSI], to get it kick-started. From there, we reached out to other organizations to see if they wanted to partner with us.”
Attendants from participating organizations met at Binghamton High School before splitting off into five different directions to clean up trash around the city. According to Tu, the location was chosen because it is central to where West Side residents reside.
“This is the heart of the West Side where a lot of students, as well as the local community, reside,” Tu wrote. “By choosing this area strategically, we want to make a real and significant impact to the local community.”
In addition to forming partnerships with other participating organizations, organizers received aid from the KTSI, which included supplies such as gloves and trash bags, to assist in running the event smoothly.
Laura Holmes, a mentor for student entrepreneurs and a member of KTSI, explained that she wanted local residents to know that BU students care about the community they inhabit.
“So [the KSTI] is actually in Downtown Binghamton,” Holmes said. “The University is actually very, very cognizant of the fact that a lot of residents of the city aren’t necessarily the best fans of students. So, seeing something like this, on a Saturday morning where people are home and not at work, and seeing the students pick up [trash] should definitely help with community relations.”
An event of this scale had not happened prior to the West Side cleanup, according to organizers.
Tatiana Balasenowich, vice president and head of marketing for the ECC and a senior majoring in business administration, described how she felt after seeing an abundance of organizations gather to benefit the local community.
“I think it was a really big thing for ECC,” Balasenowich said. “We really haven’t had a big event like this with so many organizations coming together, so it was really nice to see such a big turnout from so many different organizations.”
Mallory Fowler, president of the ECC and a senior majoring in business administration, shared her thoughts on the event’s impact on community development.
“So I’m a big believer in servant leadership, which means that, in order to be a leader, you need to be a servant to your community,” Fowler said. “The point of bringing together all these clubs that are built on leadership and progressing their academic [pursuits] and careers is to kind of teach them to be a leader for their communities as well.”
As the cleanup came to an end, participants removed several bags worth of trash from the West Side and shared a meal provided by the KSTI. Organizers expressed their desire to hold more large-scale events that give back to the local Binghamton community.
Sarah Hausman, a junior majoring in business administration and a participant in the event, said she felt the cleanup was a success.
“Well there was a lot of trash, so it was just helpful to pick up stuff on the street that most people wouldn’t have seen,” Hausman said. “Because people pick up trash, maybe by their houses, but they don’t really care about the streets or the sidewalks — so it was good to help out and clean up the streets.”
Editor’s Note (11/9/22): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Hung Tu was president of the ECC. Hung Tu is treasurer of the ECC, and Mallory Fowler is president. The article has been updated with the corrected information.