Volunteers pick up waste around Campustown area

Linsey Lubinus

ISU football may provide a lot of amusement for its fans, but for Campustown residents, it also means a large amount of litter in their lawns and clutter in their gutters.

On Sunday mornings, volunteer workers appear on the streets of Campustown. They gather up the trashed remains of the weekend into city-provided garbage bags and deposit them into Dumpsters of willing businesses, much to the appreciation of the neighborhood.

The workers and their job are the result of the Campustown cleanup program.

The density of the Campustown neighborhood has increased over the last five years and more people have been going to bars, said Fern Kupfer, associate professor of English, president of the South Campus Area Neighborhood Association and member of Student Affairs Commission.

“Campustown has been getting degraded for a long time because the density was hugely increased, and there were more bars, and a lot of party houses, and then landlords weren’t taking care of the property,” she said.

Kupfer had pictures of the littered lawns and mentioned bottles in the streets, beer cartons, cigarette butts and a lot of cans. The trash was the worst after football games.

“Red plastic cups, when they are washed into our drain sewers, they contaminate the water in Ames,” she said. “Why would you throw all that crap around?”

SCAN stepped in and started picking up the neighborhood.

Approximately a year ago, the Government of the Student Body talked to the Ames City Council about issues including the cleanliness of Campustown, said Steve Schainker, Ames city manager. The Student Affairs Commission then got involved. The mayor and council created the commission to deal with affairs that primarily affect students.

“The Student Affairs Commission of the city of Ames discussed litter in Campustown as a major concern a few months ago,” said Brian Phillips, GSB president, member of the Student Affairs Commission and senior in political science. “The initial conversation led to the City Council approving funding for more trash receptacles in Campustown.”

The commission talked for several months and started the program in June, said Maggie Luttrell, chair of the commission, GSB ex-officio City Council liaison and junior in history.

Schainker talked with Candace Tollakson, officer for the Story County Juvenile Court, about providing the workers.

“Candace was very cooperative, and I think starting in June she has been able to identify a number of community service workers that goes out and picks up trash along the gutters and the sidewalks in Campustown area,” Schainker said.

Cleaning up Campustown was added to the list of community service options for youth offenders. The city provides the trash bags. Copyworks, 105 Welch Ave., and Kum & Go, 203 Welch Ave., both agreed to let the community service workers throw the bags into their Dumpsters.

The trash pickup covers the areas of Knapp Street to Ash Avenue to Sheldon Avenue, Welch Avenue from Lincoln Way to Storm, Lincoln Way from Stanton to Hayward, Hunt from Welch to Sheldon, Chamberlain from Stanton to Hayward, and Hayward from Lincoln Way to Hunt.

“It’s worked out very well so far, it started in June, and at the last meeting the outlook was very promising for the future,” Luttrell said.

The Student Affairs Commission and SCAN are hoping that there will eventually be an “Adopt-a-Block” plan with the greek community.