Fall Clean-Up connects Colorado State University community and local residents

Christina Vessa

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Photo Credit: Christina Vessa

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The annual Fall Clean-Up service event will take place on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. throughout the City of Fort Collins.

Volunteers or groups can register a project to serve the elderly or physically limited residents of the community by providing free assistance in preparing their homes for winter. The event is intended to bring about positive interaction between long-term residents and the Colorado State University community.

This year there are more neighbors in need, according to Emily Allen, community liaison for the City of Fort Collins and Off-Campus Life at CSU who has been in charge of the event for the past three years. She said that the program is anticipating between 1,300 to 1,500 volunteers this weekend.

Many of the neighbors need help with raking and bagging leaves, among other things. Gerry Torok is a former CSU Housing and Dining employee who is receiving assistance this year.

“I think they get a sense of ownership from being able to work with the community,” Torok said. “It is more of a feeling of belonging to the community rather than what they are just doing on campus.”

Residents from anywhere in the city can receive help from the CSU community, while those outside of city limits can receive help from the Faith Evangelical Church.

“We want students to connect with their neighbors and realize that there may be many neighbors in need of help throughout the year,” Allen said.

Another goal of the program is to help students recognize what it takes to maintain a yard.

Not only does Fall Clean-Up provide free assistance to those in need, students feel as if there is a message to be heard.

“I would say just to make sure the community knows we aren’t just party kids and we actually care about helping Fort Collins and the residents here,” said Madison Cunningham, sophomore communications major. This will be her second year participating in the event.

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Cunningham is a volunteer for CRU, Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization on campus which is planning on volunteering about 50 people.

“I haven’t had any other experience on this scale where we have such a big portion of the community ready to get involved,” said Josh Bestle, senior business major and coordinator for the CRU volunteer group this year.

There will be over 220 households receiving assistance and students are eager to get involved.

“We want to show the residents of Fort Collins that there is a large percentage of people who are nice and willing to give back,” said Andrew Yourick, senior biological science major who is President of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. “I think that everyone enjoys giving back and having the ability to help those who can’t clean up their own yards.”

Alpha Tau Omega is providing 20 volunteers this weekend through two different service projects. Every year, Fall Clean-Up gives the opportunity to bring the Fort Collins community together.

“The group who came here two years ago, they were laughing and talking about going out while socializing the whole time,” Torok said. “I love the CSU kids, they are just great.”

Collegian Assistant Editor Christina Vessa can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Chrissyvessa.