On Sunday afternoon, as many students were making their way back to Ramapo from spring break, members of the Greek community were already back to work, cleaning up the campus. Organized by Alpha Phi Omega and Alpha Omicron Pi, the campus cleanup was a precursor to Greek Week.
Greek Week is held every year and is a time for members of the Greek community to “foster a greater sense of community,” according to the 2016 Greek Week handbook, by participating in community service events and group games and competitions. Greek Week this year bears the theme “superheroes” and will take place from April 8-17.
For Greek Week, participating organizations get split up into teams and compete for points. If these organizations co-sponsor events with others within their team before Greek Week, they receive additional points. Sunday’s cleanup will gain team Iron Man, made up of Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Chi Rho, Phi Kappa Sigma and Chi Upsilon Sigma, points toward the Greek Week competition. According to Alpha Phi Omega, or APO, president Christine DePope, APO holds a similar cleanup event every semester, but this was the first time they asked other organizations to collaborate.
"I really liked how it involved multiple Greek organizations on campus rather than just one organization,” said sophomore APO member Rachel Durschlag. “By doing this project, I learned how to work as a team leader … and how to work well with other people of different ages, genders or even grades … I think that this project was important because I really felt a sense of community while doing this."
With the weather warming up, DePope explained that it is prime time to clean up the trash left from the colder months.
“We did a campus cleanup because, with the spring coming, we thought we would have nice weather and be able to pick up the hidden trash with all of the snow melted,” said DePope. “We also wanted to help out Facilities and show our appreciation for their hard work. They do a great job taking care of a campus that has over 6,000 people running around on it.”
Brian Plucinsky, an APO new interest member, noted Ramapo’s landscape as a celebrated part of campus, which is why he feels the cleanup was so important.
"One of Ramapo College's most known qualities is the scenery of the Ramapo Mountains that surround the campus,” said Plucinsky. “We want all students, faculty members and guests to experience the beauty that is associated with our school. By eliminating litter and debris, people are able to appreciate the nature thriving around us."
This year’s Greek Week will host another campus cleanup as part of its larger community service initiatives, where members of the Greek community will help Facilities with projects around campus. The second community service event will take place at Bergen County Horse Rescue, where they will help rebuild the horse rescue’s fence, help with the barn structure and clean up the surrounding area.
"It was a great feeling to be part of making our campus a cleaner and safer environment,” said sophomore APO member Tara Ward of this Sunday’s cleanup. “My group and I found a lot more garbage than we expected. This school is a home for most of us and it should be treated with respect, and that starts with throwing away garbage in its proper place."