Students & Alumni Beautify Downtown Planters, Clean-Up Hill Section



More than 200 University of Scranton students, as well as alumni, fanned out across the streets of the City of Scranton on April 14 to clean up and beautify areas surrounding the University's campus. 

The community service event, part of the University’s Earth Week activities, included a new partnership with Scranton Tomorrow to plant flowers and shrubs in more than 50 downtown planters, in addition to the annual trash clean-up in the Hill Section. Students also raked leaves in Nay Aug Park, and off-campus students in the Hill Section participated in a "street pride" event to clean up their lawn.


Downtown Planter Project

The University of Scranton Alumni Society, Student Government, and Office of Community Relations teamed up with Main Street Scranton, a project of Scranton Tomorrow, to beautify the planters located throughout downtown Scranton.  In addition to the University’s support, The Home Depot and Lowe’s in Dickson City and Mulberry Bush in Scranton provided donations and discounts for the planting project.

The initiative grew out of the University’s Student Government wishing to expand the annual street sweep event to additional areas of the City.  Scranton Tomorrow, having identified a need for the weeding, debris removal and plantings throughout Scranton’s business district, worked with the students, as well as the Alumni Society and Community Relations Office, to create a broader event.

“The Downtown Planter Project is a great example of how partnerships can have a significant impact on a community,” said Leslie Collins, executive director of Scranton Tomorrow. The partnership with the University was the kick-off for Scranton Tomorrow of their new “Adopt-a-Planter” Initiative, which includes additional plantings and maintenance. 

“The planters downtown add color to the city and students enjoyed planting the small trees and pansies,” said Katie Gonzalez, Director of Communications for Student Government.  “The event also provided an opportunity for students and alumni to interact with residents and businesses,” added Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of the Office of Community Relations, who said the University plans to repeat the collaboration again next spring. 


Hill Section & Nay Aug Park Activities

The University’s Student Government organized student clubs and organizations into Hill Section “zones” with students picking up litter on the 300 and 400 blocks from Madison Avenue to Taylor Avenue as well as on Vine Street.  They filled more than 60 bags with trash, including recyclable materials. 

Another new element of this year’s service effort was “Street Pride,” a lawn clean-up event organized by the Office of Off Campus & Commuter Student Affairs and the Off-Campus Advisory Board. “We were hoping the Street Pride event would encourage off campus residents to take pride in both their street and the community they live in,” said junior, Colleen Sullivan.

The purpose of the event is to have students living in the Hill Section help make it a cleaner place to live “We try to inspire people who don’t participate in these events to clean up their lawn and their neighbor’s lawn,” said Stephanie Adamec, director of Off Campus and Commuter Student Affairs.

Students also raked leaves and weeded in Nay Aug Park in cooperation with Scranton’s Department of Public Works and the Hill Neighborhood Association. “The students had a great time working together to better our community and the University-community collaboration was successful in creating a bigger and better service event,” said Gonzalez. 

Click here to view photos of the community service event.  

Pictures: (Top) Standing at a downtown planter from left are sophomores Christie Garrecht of Northport, N.Y., and Natalie Gower of Lebanon, N.J.; Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty; Julie Cohen, director of community relations at the University; Scranton Tomorrow Executive Director and University graduate Leslie Collins; and senior Brian Riordan of Ramsey N.J. (Middle) Students planting on N. Washington Ave. in downtown Scranton. (Third) Students raking leaves in Nay Aug Park.