Whether students were raised here or halfway around the world, Ann Arbor becomes their home for their college years.
Saturday, about 100 students picked up garbage and engaged in service work at seven parks in their adopted hometown as part of the Big Thank You A2 event organized by members of the Central Student Government.
CSG President Manish Parikh spent one of his last days as the CSG executive picking up garbage. He wrote in an e-mail it was important he show appreciation to the city he called home for the duration of his undergraduate experience.
“The goal for Big Thank You A2 is to thank the city of Ann Arbor for being such a wonderful and kind neighbor to U-M and its students,” Parikh wrote. “Hopefully in the future the number of students volunteering will go from 100 to 1,000.”
Organizers of the event included Parikh; LSA freshman Tanner Waterstreet, the co-chair of the CSG External Relations Commission; LSA junior Jill Clancy, the CSG chief programming officer; and LSA freshman Nick Swider, a CSG intern.
Waterstreet said he would like to see this event, as well as other community service events, resurface in the future.
The future of community service through CSG received another boost as the incoming CSG president and vice president, Business junior Mike Proppe and LSA sophomore Bobby Dishell attended the event.
“I think service projects like this are something that student government should probably do a little bit more of (and) hasn’t done a lot of in the past,” Proppe said, adding that he’s already talked with CSG’s Peace and Justice Commission about doing more service projects.
Dishell said it’s important to be thankful for a city that does so much for its student residents.
Parikh said several student groups were partners in the event, including the African Students Association, Smile Bringer Singers, Michigan Izzat, Michigan Club Wrestling and buildOn. All involved students were split among the seven sites.
LSA sophomore Benjamin Farrell and LSA senior Chloe Prince were two of the volunteers at Gallup Park. Both said they heard of the event through the campus-wide e-mail that Parikh sent.
Prince said she likes to run through Ann Arbor parks and saw the opportunity as a way to say thanks.
“For me, I’m a senior here. The e-mail (invitation) was framed as a way to give back to the Ann Arbor I’ve enjoyed over the last four years,” Prime said. “I thought the least I can do is help clean up.”
Farrell is an Ann Arbor native. He used to come to Gallup Park with his father while growing up, but it had been years since he’d been there last. He said he was glad that student leaders were supportive of keeping the city clean.
“It’s good to have people at the school that are thinking about things like this because someone needs to.”