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University volunteers help clean up Seattle parks during spring break

groupFor some, spring break is a time to head to the beach and relax after a long semester of studying. But for 10 undergraduates with the University of Virginia (UVA), spring break is a time to head to Seattle to pick up trash, weed, repair trails and work on other service projects.

Participating in the UVA’s Alternative Spring Break program, a diverse group of undergrads, whose majors include Foreign Affairs, Philosophy, Biomedical Engineering, and Drama, spent last week volunteering with Seattle Parks and Recreation. The volunteers worked to remove ivy and plant native plants at Mount Baker Park, clear invasive plants at Leschi Park, maintain the orchard in front of the Amy Yee Tennis Center, cleanup trash at Alki Beach Park, and do restoration work at Dr. Jose Rizal Park.

Alyssa Dizon, a senior studying Foreign Affairs, described the impact of her volunteer experience: “Our time working with Seattle Parks and Recreation helped make our spring break an incredibly meaningful experience. Beyond getting to travel to a new place and meet new people, our organization’s goal is to foster service learning. Each day we learned a lot from our site lead agroup 2nd from our volunteer work, which changed our perspectives on our role within the greater movement for environmental conservation and the role that public parks can play in modern-day cities. We admired the abundance of natural green space in Seattle, and felt that the extensive park system created a more livable city and brought different communities within Seattle together. Many of us are interested in spending more time with the public park system in our college town, Charlottesville, after seeing the great impact parks can have on a community. None of us had been to the Pacific Northwest before, and most of us had little experience in gardening so getting to try of all these new activities for the purpose of service was a very humbling and eye-opening experience.”

Thank you to all of the volunteers!