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.