New River Cleanup

GWU Honors Students Help Remove Over 2 Tons of Trash in Big Sweep 2018

NewRiver Cleanup

Every fall semester since 2001, the Gardner-Webb University Honors Student Association has participated in the Big Sweep litter cleanup at New River State Park in West Jefferson, N.C. Through this community service activity, the students also learn how to set up a campsite and plan group activities for the year.

“This provides a great first bonding experience for new students,” reflected Dr. Tom Jones, professor of biology and associate dean of the GWU Honors Program. “Many have never camped before nor have they paddled a canoe in a river system. They get frustrated hitting rocks, dragging canoes, etc. But, they end up having a great time.”

Jones coordinates the trip with the State Park and New River Conservancy to provide canoes for the students. According to Chelsea Blount, the Conservancy’s River Builder coordinator, the GWU students were among a group of 120 community volunteers who took part on Sept. 8. Working together, Blount said the volunteers removed a total of 4,340 pounds (over 2 tons) of trash and 96 tires from the river.

After spending the day on the river and camping out, the honors students held a church service in West Jefferson at St. Mary’s, one of the churches of the frescoes. On the way home, they enjoyed a luncheon at Daniel Boone Inn in Boone, N.C.

To learn more about the Honors Student Association, email Dr. Tom Jones.