By Jane Wagner
Entirely East Lansing
Exciting weekends in East Lansing, like home football games and Halloween, lead to increased levels of litter strewn across the community. The Community Relations Coalition works to restore East Lansing to an acceptable condition for all residents.
“The CRC is a group of 10 interns that are undergraduate students at Michigan State University,” said coalition intern Christina Ignasiak. “We partner with the city of East Lansing and MSU to spread information and bridge the gap between the students and long-term residents in the neighborhoods.”
Picking up East Lansing may seem slightly overwhelming, but the coalition does not seem to think of the job as a chore. The neighborhoods are divided into zones and groups of volunteers are each assigned a zone.
“We use GiveGab to organize the volunteers,” said Ignasiak. “ We also receive requests for participation from other student organizations on campus and Greek life. The crews consist of students, representatives from the city, CRC interns and residents of East Lansing.”
GiveGab is an online nonprofit gifting platform where volunteers can sign up for coalition events. Gathering enough volunteers is not an issue. In fact, the coalition often has to limit the number of volunteers they utilize for a cleanup event.
“We have 10 interns so we split the whole group into about five different groups and all go to different areas around the neighborhood,” said coalition intern Grace Carmichael. “We usually try to cap the volunteers at about 50 or 60 people, otherwise it gets a little too complicated.”
As the season goes on, the number of individuals looking to dedicate their time to the community grew. There was a substantial increase in the numbers of volunteers between the first and more recent cleanups.
“We didn’t have a cleanup this past weekend and our last of the semester was Oct. 25,” said coalition intern coordinator Leslie Armell.
Halloween is a very busy weekend in East Lansing, but the colder weather and rain kept celebrations inside. There was significantly less debris in the streets than after a football game.
“This year, we only cleaned up after big home football games,” said Carmichael. “ We were looking for other opportunities but none came up that matched with our schedule.”
Those big home football games were against Oregon, Central Michigan University and Indiana University.
“This year, the messiest day was after Central,” said Carmichael. “Because so many students from CMU came into town, it was a big game with lots of people. There were a lot of tailgates going on, so the streets had lots to clean up.”
No matter how big the mess is, cleaning up East Lansing never takes too long for the coalition. The large group of volunteers makes for a quick morning of work.
“We start the cleanups at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings and usually last about an hour,” said Ignasiak. “We separate the Bailey and Oakwood neighborhoods into zones and each crew is responsible for those areas.”
Although the coalition does not have another neighborhood cleanup scheduled this semester, they are always looking for more volunteer opportunities and ways they can better the East Lansing community.