Rowan University Gives Back to Glassboro Community

Hi All! ⊗

On Sunday, April 17, 2016, Rowan University hosted “Back to the Boro”, their annual community service event. About 1,3000 students volunteered in the event organized by the Student Government Association. Students from various clubs and groups on campus are required to participate in community service, but many were happy to help without being required to.

This annual event allows students and also teachers to give back to the community by cleaning up leaves, painting, laying mulch, as well as picking up trash to those who live in the heart of Glassboro. Families were sent a letter by mail from the university, it asked if they wanted a few student helpers for spring cleaning to which most happily obliged.

Armed with gardening gloves, bottled water, and breakfast bars, members of a student issues magazine on campus, called Hey Marlene, went to a local home on Williamsburg Ct. Members included editor-in-chief Morgan Jenkins, Senior Editor TJ Holloway, SGA senator Cierra Lewis, Secretary Kristin Guglietti, and myself, a staff writer for the magazine.


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We arrived at the home of Kevin and Joan Bebee, residents of Glassboro since 2011. We were greeted with big smiles and a warm welcome! After, we were instructed to remove leaves and other foliage from underneath a row of bushes. Guglietti, Jenkins, and myself loaded big barrels full of dead leaves while the others brought the barrels to the street to be later collected by the town.

Removing dead leaves and foliage allows the plants to have an open space to grow. Mulch can also help insulate a tree or shrub!

After the dead foliage was removed, we played with the Bebee’s adorable dog, Mia. In turns, she begged each one of us to play fetch and we couldn’t resist. Guglietti and I filled wheel barrels with dark, pungent mulch using pitchforks. Holloway and Jenkins transported the barrels to the backyard where Kevin and Joan directed how to lay the mulch. Three trees, a long row of bushes, and a side garden were lined with mulch and spread out evenly by Jenkins and Holloway.

Jenkins, a junior journalism major, was excited to give back to the community but also felt some students were not working hard enough. “Some students didn’t show enough initiative, a woman across the street complained to us that her group of volunteers left after a couple of minutes without a goodbye,” said Jenkins.

After what seemed like a thousand trips back and forth, we all switched jobs to give each other a break as well as to get the full experience. The Bebee’s were very helpful and kind, they put on music and made sure we had more than enough water to stay hydrated.

Guglietti, a junior English major with a minor in journalism, worked hard on the unseasonably hot day with little complaint. “I ruined my sneakers because we ended up mulching an entire back and front yard but over all I was happy to give back.”

Gardening as well as spring cleaning is another form of DIY many people don’t appreciate. Maintaining a well kept garden can be very rewarding, if one is willing to get a little dirt on their hands. I enjoyed helping the Bebee family with their spring cleaning and learning more about DIY outdoor projects.

Fun fact: Mulch when left in a pile over time will begin to steam, not because of the hot sun but because it is decomposing. It can even start a fire if left unattended!