Humber College’s Campus Clean-Up event made a comeback this week as students came together in person after being shut down for three years as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
A small group of students and volunteers gathered on Wednesday at the North Campus to pick up litter, collect recyclables, and enhance the overall cleanliness of the college grounds.
Armed with gloves and garbage bags, the students walked around the campus and the Humber Arboretum picking up litter and sorting it for proper disposal.
“I think it’s going to be therapeutic and I’m ready to get in the zone to give back to my community and college,” said Grace Taylor, a student in Humber’s Bachelor of Interior Design program who participated in the event.
Humber’s Office of Sustainability organized these Campus Clean-Up events at the Lakeshore Campus on May 16 and the North Campus on May 17 to promote sustainable practices and reduce waste.
Gabi Hentschke, Humber’s Sustainability Communications and Engagement Coordinator, said the Office of Sustainability has been holding this event since 2016, but it was shifted to virtual and remote activities for students during the lockdown and restrictions due to COVID-19.
“Once the school opened, we saw a lot of interest from students, especially in events where you’re actually out there and getting something done,” she said.
Hentschke said in the fall semester of 2022, they were approached by many interested students who wanted to participate in the campus clean-up event. But with the low temperatures during fall couldn’t let them conduct one.
“We had it in our mind that this is an activity we have to bring back because people are so excited,” she said.
She said the event not only promotes environmental responsibility but also serves as an opportunity for students to connect with like-minded peers and make a positive impact on their campus.
“Sometimes because of close proximity to the street, not only people from Humber itself but also folks that live around the campus might litter,” she said. “We just do that work of picking it up and teaching them the importance of not littering.”
Hentschke said the students were taught to sort the waste into organic waste, recyclables and general waste to ensure that it goes into the proper channel in the waste facilities.
Taylor said she wanted to participate in sustainability work during the summer.
“I saw this event on the Sustainability office’s Instagram and I thought it was in line with my schedule and it was nice weather, so I was ready to get out and do more to give back to my community,” Taylor said.
Dheeraj Bhatia, an international student in Humber’s Business Administration Advanced Diploma program said he was driven by his passion for the environment and the opportunity to gain volunteering experience to join the event.
“I believe, it all starts with little things,” Bhatia said. “Even if it’s a small group of people, eventually it can create a big difference if we’re all working together.”