WATERVILLE — Julia Ruhl dragged a black garbage bag along Water Street, plucking plastic containers, cups, paper, and other debris from the river bank, where wet leaves and bushes lay on the roadside.
Rule, 20, a psychology major at Colby College in Burlington, Rhode Island, said she loves volunteering in community initiatives.
“That’s one of the reasons I came to Colby,” she said. “I’ve been volunteering since eighth grade. It’s something I really enjoy. I just like to get involved and help out.”
Rule and about 20 other Colby students were the bulk of the volunteers who took part in cleaning up the area on Saturday morning, organized by the Southend Neighborhood Association. Matt Skehan, the city’s director of parks and recreation and public works director, provided a trash can located in the parking lot of the boat landing off Water Street. Volunteers gathered there before 8:30 a.m. and traveled in groups to various locations in the South End to collect and dispose of everything from furniture to used diapers.
Neighborhood association president Anna Holdener said the neighborhood association’s Quality of Life Committee hosted the cleanup.
“We now do this twice a year, but we’ve had an annual cleanup for probably about 15 years,” says Holdener. “Colby has always been on the spring cleanup and has been on the fall cleanup too. and focus on cleaning public areas in the neighborhood.
Holdener said a yearlong volunteer picked up an entire pantry of preserved foods from the 1980s.
“Dumping is a real issue here,” she said. “We usually have a collection of shopping carts that we try to put back into the store, the tires and the whole living room set.”
Association members Paula Raymond, Scott McAdoo and Charlie Pullen were among the approximately 35 volunteers who participated in the effort.
Bob Hussey of the city’s North End has been volunteering for the past few years.
City Councilman Tom McCormick, representing Southend’s 7th Ward, his wife Anne, State Representative Bruce White, and D-Waterville lead a group of four Colby students along the riverbank. They start from Scott’s Pizza across Water Street and south.
Colby Rule and Gemma Chatham, 19, sophomores from Wellesley, Massachusetts; Olga Lisabet, 18, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Lucia Robon, 19, sophomore from Brookline, Massachusetts. I worked with McCormick told them the history of the South End, when French Canadians came down from Canada at the turn of the 20th century to work in the city’s factories.
Ruhl, student coordinator for Colby’s civic engagement program, said students regularly participate in and support the community as part of “service Saturdays.” Three weeks ago they attended a walkathon to support a homeless shelter in central Maine. One of Ruhl’s volunteer activities is tutoring his 7-year-old at Winslow.
Robon, who majors in economics and global studies, said she feels that volunteering is an obligation, but not in a negative way.
“If I’m part of the community, maybe I should help,” she said. “Civil engagement has always been a part of my life, and I didn’t want to stop in college.”
Chatham said she picks up a lot of cans, Dunkin’ Donuts bags and other food-related trash.
“Some of them are pretty old,” she said.
Lisabeth had stuffed her bag with aluminum foil, plastic cups and scratch tickets.
When McCormick spoke with his students, he said it’s important to take pride in your neighborhood. White agreed.
“It also sets a good example for the community, working together to get things done,” he said. “This brings us together, doesn’t it?”
L. Tardif Jeweler in downtown Waterville closes after 87 years
Please check your email to confirm and complete your registration.
Please use the form below to reset your password. After you email your account, you will receive an email with a reset code.