On a sweltering Sunday morning (Sept. 6) during Labor Day weekend, 23 members of Jesuit High School's Environmental Club led a group of more than 30 volunteers on a major clean-up project.
For two hours in the midsummer-like conditions, they walked both sides of the Courtney Campbell Causeway, picking up trash and debris while filling dozens of large plastic bags. Using an app called Clean Swell to log the collection data, the volunteers broke into groups and carefully negotiated the slippery rocks along the Tampa Bay shoreline to remove garbage trapped within the crevices.
Environmental Club members who participated Sunday included club officers Dawson Jessee '21, Nate Polite '21, William Brooker '21, Koehler Runkle '21, and Jeff Buyak '21, along with Brett Angel '24, Christian Changsut '24, Daniel Hevia '21, Frank Messina '22, Matthew Justin '22, Lucca Rodrigues '24, Daniel Jung '21, Alex Freund '24, Kai Rodrigues '23, John Paul Llanos '22, John Rodriguez '21, Carson Jeffords '21, Ryan O'Sullivan '23, Nico Machado '21, Patrick Cole '22, Daniel Vargas '22, Cameron Trías '22, and Gian Velez '22.
Club moderator Vindri Gajadhar, Jesuit teacher Cristina Delano, counselors Fernando Rodrigues and Krista Jones, and communications director Pete Young, along with some family members, also participated.
The volunteers broke into several groups and headed in different directions on both sides of the causeway to pick up litter. The trash collected included hundreds of beverage cans and bottles, more than a thousand bottle caps, plastic bags, styrofoam cups and lids, straws, cigarette butts, fishing line, fireworks remnants, model cars, and more.
The cleanup was sponsored locally by Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, and the Environmental Club annually participates in Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful events. The club has several more clean-up events scheduled for later this year, including the post-Gasparilla Parade Cleanup in January and the Great American Cleanup in the spring.
The Environmental Club is highly visible on campus. Runkle spoke at Convocation in August on behalf of the club, club members collect paper recycling in all school buildings every Friday, and the club has implemented numerous green initiatives on campus in recent years.
Please view the photo slideshow below from the Sept. 6 cleanup: