Volume 47, Number 3 - September 21, 2009

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Sergio Candido
Sergio Candido

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Green the Block

MDC Students Help to Green the Block

By Sergio Candido

President Obama’s call to action was answered on Sept. 11 at the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center, an outreach branch of the North Campus, where faculty, students and volunteers gathered to participate in the Green the Block National Day of Service.

Environmental organizations such as Green for All, Hip-Hop Caucus and The Big Blue & You joined forces to educate and mobilize low-income and minority communities to be part of the clean-energy economy.

“We were actually approached by the organization the Big Blue & You and they asked us to participate in this ‘green’ event,” said Crystal Dunn, academic resources and lab coordinator at the Meek Center.

The event started with a litter and green information drive called “Clean the Block,” where about 50 students and volunteers came together in teams of ten, put on gloves, picked up trash bags and started their four-block walk.

The project focused on the Liberty City area along N.W. 7th Ave. starting at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to N.W. 66th Street, ending at Thena Crowder Elementary School.

“We are doing it specifically in Liberty City because this area suffers disproportionately from a lot of illnesses and has been heavily impacted by a lot of things that can be avoided if their perspective could change,” Dunn said.

Volunteers picked up everything from cans, bottles, papers and even fragments of glass.  After 40 minutes of work, the result was 10 bags of garbage.

“It will help to bring awareness to the fact that together as a community you can improve the quality of life and the environment based on the removal of garbage from the street,” said Mark Gardner, professor of English at the Meek Center, who was one of the team leaders.

After the drive, Miami-Dade County officials, who had partnered with MDC for the event, discussed the importance of conservation and a green economy.

“Going green makes economic sense, you can save a lot of money and help the environment by doing small things,” said Maggie Fernandez, an official from the Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability.

Fernandez, gave away gifts to help the environment, such as reusable bottles and five minute shower clocks, to help preserve water consumption.

Kathleen Woods-Richardson, MDC alumni and director of the Miami-Dade County Solid Waste Management Department put emphasis on the importance of recycling.

“Miami-Dade County has a world-class recycling program,” Woods-Richardson said. “The county has placed blue recycling containers on every street corner.”

The event closed with a resource fair, featuring vendors, educational information, products and services to support “green” lifestyles.

“I think this is going to make the community a little cleaner,” said Talleyrand Derival, 20.  “If you help at least you are actually not part of the problem; plus it feels good doing it.”

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