SGA fountain cleanup, low turnout, high passion


Cheyanne Quintanilla

SGA Senator Jacob Jovanovich, chair of environmental affairs and junior accounting major organized the clean up to provide a clean area for the animals on campus Tuesday. (Chey Quintanilla | Northern Star)

By Bridgette Fox, Written Managing Editor

DeKALB – SGA Senator Jacob Jovanovich, chair of environmental affairs and junior accounting major, organized a cleanup of the area around Cole Hall’s fountain in honor of this week being Earth Week at NIU.

Jovanovich arrived at 3 p.m. (the start time of the cleanup) carrying plastic garbage bags, garbage pick-up sticks; he wore black shorts, a khaki button-up and a fanny pack (reminiscent of Steve Irwin).

“My focus today is solely just to clean up the garbage, especially with all the geese,” Jovanovich said. “They eat the grass, and I don’t want them mistaking any of this garbage for food and choking and whatnot.”

When the event started, there was one student there who was interested in helping Jovanovich – Hallie Hernandez, a first-year mechanical engineering major.

Hernandez did not originally know the event was happening but was nearby when the cleanup started, which she said she has been interested in doing herself this year.

“I’m a second semester freshman, and the fact that the trash has been bothering me?” Hernandez said. “Does it not bother other people who have been here for longer?”

While the original turnout was small, Hernandez would occasionally call up to students walking by and ask if they were interested in joining. While most students politely declined over the course of the two-hour cleanup, some were swayed by Hernandez.

There were approximately 15 students who helped out throughout the two hour cleanup, including SGA Senator Montez Soliz and multiple of Hernandez’ friends whom she had contacted and asked to help.

Whenever Jovanovich noticed a new student joining to help, he would try to talk to them, asking about their year, major and how far from campus they live.

“People are not very conscious of where they put their stuff, especially their garbage,” said Peter Dioro, a first-year mechanical engineering major who helped join the cleanup.

Nearing the end of the cleanup, Amanda Durik, associate dean of Undergraduate Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, walked by and thanked students for cleaning up, citing that the garbage always bothers her.

“I’m always a little bothered by garbage in strange places, and I know the wind takes it sometimes,” Durik said. “To find you all cleaning up this space, it’s just such a gift.”

SGA events for Earth week include a cleanup from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Recreation Center and a restoration of the East Lagoon’s shoreline from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.