In order to create a better image at Fort Hays State University for alumni and visitors expected for Homecoming, Hays Neighbors, a group of community volunteers, will clean up alleys in a residential area near campus.
From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, workers will pull refuse from alleys between West Fourth Street and West Eight Street between Park and Main. Residents there are asked to place large items in the alleys and by trash cans.
They will not pick up household trash, refrigerators or chemicals, but are looking for items such as couches, TVs, recliners, washers and dryers and other miscellaneous items.
Hays Neighbors is an informal group of 20 to 30 people, area residents and others, who have a concern for the situation and are volunteering because the city does alley cleanup only once a year.
Cathy Van Doren, associate director of development for the FHSU Foundation and head of the project, said they simply want to "shine some light on the problem."
Four students are helping with the project through their Leadership 310 class: Garrett Rolland, Hays senior; Cade Owens, Minneapolis senior; Brandon Gariner, Hartman, Colo. senior; and Justin Dallmann, Hays senior.
The group's involvement is to "revitalize clean up" said Owen and make landlords more aware of the problem while, at the same time, "lay a foundation of solving the overall problem," Gariner added.
Rolland, Owens and Gariner do not live in that area now, but all have lived there at one time or another and thought it would be appropriate to help the situation.
Rolland said that students living there do not realize there is a big issue with the image it creates. Owens says it has a really negative appearance.
When Gariner moved into that area, he said, it was hard to keep it clean because it wasn't clean when he moved in.
"Rent's not cheaper, it's just close to campus," said Owens.
He also said one house is clean and the next isn't, so not everyone in the area is contributing to the mess.
Their intention, and that of Hays Neighbors, is to help clean up the area especially for Homecoming but perhaps also to create awareness to help keep it clean for the future as well.
For more information, contact Van Doren at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (785) 628-5947.