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Members of Beta Beta Beta spent two hours cleaning the busy roadway near downtown Hillsdale on Sunday.
Monica Toohey | Courtesy

Clad in neon yellow vests, stu­dents of the biology hon­orary Beta Beta Beta, took to highway M-99, spending their Sunday afternoon col­lecting litter.

Beta Beta Beta Pres­ident senior Genevieve Chiara said the hon­orary first applied to Adopt-a-Highway in 2011, and since then, they have com­mitted to main­taining this par­ticular stretch of land near Walmart in Jonesville.

Chiara said this was her first time par­tic­i­pating in this vol­unteer event.

“I wasn’t nec­es­sarily sur­prised [at the amount of trash], but it was dis­ap­pointing to think about,” Chiara said. “It took nine people two hours to do a two mile stretch of land. It really makes you imagine how much trash must exist in the entire country.”

Active member senior Erin Fla­herty, who has been apart of the hon­orary since last year, said this was her first time doing the highway cleanup day as well. She said doing Beta Beta Beta service work allows her to vol­unteer for some­thing she is pas­sionate about — con­ser­vation and biology.

“I can lit­erally see the change I am making by the stark con­trast between when we begin cleaning and when we are fin­ished,” Fla­herty said. “It is very sat­is­fying to remove harmful plastics and wastes from the ecosystem.”

Senior Monica Toohey, trea­surer of Beta Beta Beta, men­tioned that in prepa­ration for the event, the vol­un­teers had to watch a safety video.

She noted that the excursion on Sunday increased her per­sonal under­standing of the impact of people’s actions.

“Just throwing one thing out the window — you have no idea how long it will stay on the side of the road,” Toohey said.

According to Chiara, com­munity service is a requirement for mem­bership. Every active member must perform 2 hours of vol­un­teering each semester. In addition to their vol­unteer events, the group hosts a plant sale, col­lects recy­cling from the classroom buildings, and hosts a bonfire for their members.

Chiara added that the officers choose to open certain vol­unteer events such as the highway clean-up to all stu­dents. Both Chiara and Toohey said they hope their new instagram page will increase interest in the hon­orary and its mission.

“If you have the oppor­tunity to get involved in an activity like this, don’t hes­itate because at the end of the day you will never regret some­thing like helping the earth,” Toohey said.