While environmentalists at universities always talk about preserving the planet, they rarely do anything about it, other than hold rallies. These acts do nothing but draw attention to the protesters without offering any real solutions. CFACT students, on the other hand, put their money where their mouth is. CFACT at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, held a litter clean up of East River Flats Park right off of campus to illustrate environmental stewardship to the campus community.
“This is an important place to keep clean. It’s important not just to the city, but especially to the student body as well,” said chapter President John Mickley. “It’s the site of the U of M’s women’s rowing team, and a lot of people from the community come here for picnics and to relax.”
Bordering the Mississippi River, the park offers one of few opportunities to interact with nature within the urban confines of the Minneapolis city limits. The park has a semi-tumultuous history, as several attempts to build playgrounds and facilities for public enjoyment were made over the years but never came to fruition. The creation of a lake by the Meeker Island Dam in the early 1900’s was intended to create a pleasant, enjoyable park, but in reality just became a source for runoff from pollution in the city.
The smell became so bad for River Flats Park that construction of baseball or football fields were also abandoned. Ironically, the pollution that prevented development actually helped preserve a relatively untouched piece of land near the Mississippi River. It is now just a simple place where people can enjoy nature, and is a beautiful, open venue for events like concerts near the University.
“It’s our hope that as our peers see us garnering support for the clean up and putting our words into action, that they think about what they could do as well,” added Mickley. “We’ve done our part in keeping this area clean for the students. It’s fun going out there and making a difference.”