Students clean up DeKalb during NIU Cares


Sean Reed

Tim Thomas picks up trash at the corner before crossing with the group.

By Joey Trella, Marketing Team Coordinator

DeKALB — On April 29, NIU organizations and the DeKalb community took the time to help clean up NIU’s campus and surrounding neighborhoods. 

NIU Cares hosted a community-wide clean-up in honor of Earth Day that was on April 22. They co-hosted the event with NIU Student Involvement and SGA, NIU Outdoor Adventures, the DeKalb Park District, Kishwaukee Water Reclamation, the City of DeKalb and Trash Squirrels.

NIU Cares is a campus-wide community service that originally started as a one-time yearly event. Over the spring of 2021, it transitioned into creating more opportunities to help the community. 

“NIU Cares is about education and understanding of local issues and needs in addition to direct service,” according to NIU’s website. “Through participation from the Huskie community and collaboration with our surrounding partners, we hope to truly engage with our local communities and make impacts that matter.”

Starting at 9 a.m. students and community members were to check in, grab a free t-shirt and assigned to their locations. They had access to trash bags and sticks to help with the clean-up. 

Amanda Haugk, a junior early childhood education major, joined her sorority sisters of Sigma Lambda Sigma in cleaning up campus. 

“My goal for today is to just make the campus beautiful,” Haugk said. “Just give back to the campus like it has been given to me and to do it with my sisters.” 

Sigma Sigma Sigma, also known as Tri Sigma, currently has over 413 community service hours clocked. A couple of the sisters donated their time to this Earth Day clean-up. 

“It just makes me really sad to see Greek Row in its state, especially because there are so many students that live over there and it’s a disaster,” said Cassie Lugo, a sophomore middle education major with Tri Sigma. “I just want to be able to help out with that.”

Another organization involved with NIU Cares was Huskie Services Scholars, a program for first-year and transfer students to connect with their community. 

“We help out in the local communities as well as our own communities,” Alexandra Henriquez, a first-year biochemistry major said. “With volunteering, we try to get as many hours as we can. My goal, including this, is to get 75 hours this semester.” 

The clean-up took over the whole town with several different locations. After the campus clean-up, all groups involved got to enjoy a luncheon afterward at West Lagoon.