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SMC, ND students plan neighborhood cleanup

| Friday, April 23, 2004

Though the farm at Saint Mary’s no longer exists, the love for the land and the environment is still present. Many years ago, a farm was run by members of the Saint Mary’s community, and the products from it were used not only to feed the college, but the community as well. But with changing times come changes to the land. Members of the Saint Mary’s Student Environmental Action Coalition and Notre Dame’s Students for Environmental Action will combine efforts this weekend to plant trees in the South Bend community to celebrate the end of Earth Awareness Week. Notre Dame senior Virginia Kelly is co-president of SEA. Kelly said with Earth Day being yesterday, and Arbor Day in the near future, now is a great time to hold this event. She said the groups plan to plant trees and perform a neighborhood cleanup offer.”SEA purchased five trees from the city of South Bend,” Kelly said. “Trees are really expensive [up to] $200 each. We’ll be collaborating with the Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc. We’ll be planting these trees and also helping the NNN with a neighborhood cleanup.”Saint Mary’s SEAC will also be joining the tree planting effort. Earlier in the week, the group held a vegetarian dinner, sponsored a film viewing and led a series of nature walks through Saint Mary’s nature trail. “We wanted to make this a week of celebration,” said SEAC members. “Often times looking at earth issues can become a negative thing, but we wanted to make it something positive.” Besides holding events to promote dialogue among students interested in environmental issues, SEA and SEAC said they also wanted to promote the environment as a whole. “I think a lot of people are aware of a lot of environmental issues, but there are plenty of others that students are not aware of,” Kelly said. “I think that a lot of the local South Bend issues are largely unknown to the student[s] since there isn’t very much interaction between the community and students.”Members of Saint Mary’s SEAC agree with Kelly. They feel that in order to grow big, people must start small. “Recycling is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to earth issues, but at least it’s a start,” said SEAC members. “We believe you have to start in your own backyard, that being the South Bend community. We want to raise awareness because we have a lot of room to grow.” And now, the future of earth issues is looking bright at Saint Mary’s, according to group members. “We have a strong history of earth awareness at Saint Mary’s,” said SEAC members. “We have over 130 different plant and tree species on our nature trails alone. We’re working hard to retain the nature area we have currently, and there is even a project in the works by COLT to set up an earth studies major and minor. And we’re hoping that history will move into the future.”