Catawba students set example with campus cleanup
SALISBURY — Six members of Catawba College’s Dead Athenian Society, along with the assistance of three other students, collected litter around campus in late February after a weekend full of campus activities.
The group began its work in front of Ketner Hall and moved clockwise to sweep the entire campus.
In all, 11 bags of trash weighing nearly 50 pounds were collected.
“Although we collected much of the trash, there is no way we could get it all,” said Dead Athenian Society President Ethan Chirico. “We need students to take ownership of campus. Only then will we see a shift in the amount of litter on campus.”
“Student ownership of Catawba correlates to responsibility in the classroom, safety on campus, and better graduates,” Chirico said. “The most influential students on campus are those who live as if this campus is their home and act accordingly. They perform well in the classroom, interact with a host of peers, maintain relationships with professors, take leadership positions with and without titles, close propped doors, and pick up litter on campus.
“Those students take the personal initiative to do good in the Catawba community,” Chirico added. “Personal responsibility has been weighed and found wanting in the Catawba community.”
The Dead Athenian Society’s mission is to foster budding leaders on campus with the highest standards of care, compassion and wisdom. Because of that, Chirico said, the trash pickup “holds much more than the physical act: events like this embed meaning to students who seek it out.”
“My greatest hope for Catawba is an institutionalized emphasis on personal responsibility for their education and this institution,” Chirico said. “This falls chiefly on everyone who received a paycheck with Catawba’s seal stamped on it. It falls secondarily on the students.”
“God has blessed my steps at Catawba,” Chirico added. “My professors have charged me with my education and my life —something I am eternally grateful for. I wish for all students to have such a blessing. Through community, one can find their personality. If I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, I will learn exponentially more than if I relied on myself. If I take responsibility for creating a community for my brothers and sisters whom I care for, my own life will benefit.”
In addition to Chirico, other participating students were Matthew Rodriguez, Haleigh Hopkins, Sarah Brown, Adam Rocko, Bailey Graeper, Seth Stephens, Alex Turner and Zach Johnson.