Three groups of Pitt students joined with three community groups to clean up neighborhoods during Pitt Make A Difference Day on Oct. 17.
The 74 student volunteers picked up trash and did landscaping in Summer Hill, Troy Hill and Historic Deutschtown’s East Park.
David Schuilenburg of the Summer Hill Citizens Committee said that with 38 Pitt students and a few Summer Hill residents, they picked up all the trash along East Street between Milroy and Venture streets.
“I probably could have used two [buses of students], then I would have gotten everything done,” said Schuilenberg, adding that he had hoped to reach the section of East Street between Hazlett Street and the Ivory Street overpass.
But Schuilenburg was grateful for the Pitt students’ help and commended Public Works for removing all the trash bags quickly.
Pitt sophomore Alisha Lineswala said she enjoyed helping out, and that seeing how much trash was thrown out next to the highway was eye opening. “We can’t drive by and roll down the window and throw our trash out."
Another sophomore on the clean-up crew, James Drake, said, “The key to success is a positive attitude. I feel like I made a difference."
At the same time, another 29 students redded up the entire Troy Hill neighborhood.
Sophomore Mike Furlong picked burrs off of his shirt as he spoke. He took the job seriously and had waded deep into some underbrush before realizing he was covered in burrs.
“Back home I do a lot of community outreach,” Furlong said.
Troy Hill Citizens Director Nicole Moga organizes a monthly cleanup that focuses on a specific area of the neighborhood, but there were enough student volunteers on this occasion to sweep the entire community.
“I want to thank the Pitt volunteers for coming out,” Moga said. “I know it’s cold and rainy and we really appreciate it.”
Over in Historic Deutschtown’s East Park, Allegheny Commons Initiative Director Alida Baker led seven brothers of Pitt’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity in some minor landscaping.
Freshmen Ryan DiSabato and Tom Curley dug up weeds in the stones around the park while their fraternity brothers worked in the flowerbeds along Cedar Avenue with East Allegheny Community Council member Lynn Glorieux.
Three AmeriCorps volunteers from the Northside Leadership Conference, the Northside Community Development Fund and The Northside Chronicle also came to pick trash up in the park for Make A Difference Day.
“The park really relies on volunteers like these guys to get work done that the city can’t do themselves,” Baker said.