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UWFox Students Take Part in 'Earth Day' Campus and Highway Clean Up

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While many of today’s college and university students weren’t even born when the first official “Earth Day” happened on April 22, 1970, that hasn’t stopped them from getting involved in many local, regional and national activities. The members of Phi Theta Kappa at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley scheduled their annual “Campus Clean Up / Adopt A Highway” program for April 23, from 10 a.m. through noon.

UWFox students engaged in volunteer work to help clean the grounds of the Menasha campus as well as a section of Highway #441, which borders the campus on the north. The area along Hwy. #441 that the UWFox students have taken on as their own, is marked with the traditional “Adopt-A-Highway” sign that reads, “Phi Theta Kappa, UWFox,” and is located approximately between Hwy. 47 (Appleton Road) and Racine St. on the westbound side of Hwy. #441.

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) is the “International Honor Society of the Two Year College.” As such, its purpose is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. The Phi Theta Kappa chapter at UWFox provides opportunity for the development of leadership and service, as well as an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.

PTK member Anne Pabst of Neenah [pictured at right, in the photo] related that, “Our Stephanie Kirk (left) and Anne Pabstmembers have been involved in the effort for at least ten years. And that’s as far back as anyone presently at the campus can remember the effort…so the linkage may go back even further!

“We teamed up with other UWFox students who helped us clean up around campus. Phi Theta Kappa specifically cleaned our section of the highway, with members of our student government and some biology classes helping us out, too. We wanted to do the clean-up on Saturday morning because we believed more people would help out if it were tied to ‘Earth Day.’”

Pabst is finishing her second year in the Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies / Organizational Administration degree program at UWFox and is a an adult student who returned to college. “I haven’t seen any difference between the younger, traditional students and the non-traditional older students, in wanting to donate time and talent for our special projects. All the Phi Theta Kappa members are honors students, so the one thing that gets in the way is schoolwork.”

Stephanie Kirk of Appleton [left, in the photo] enjoyed working with other students helping clean up the campus grounds on Saturday morning. “I felt like Saturday was just another part of my regular scheduled week. I enjoyed picking up on campus and encouraging other students on campus that if we all pick up our own messes, then we wouldn’t have to do much of this.

“Like other places, students at our campus are forgetful of their garbage and where they leave it. Even clearly labeled recyclables have garbage in them and plastic bottles in the garbage…and think that the custodians are going to pick up after them. It should be the user’s job to separate the trash, not the custodians.”

As a traditional-age college student, Kirk does see a slight difference in the approach that the younger students take. “I think that the interests of the younger students seem to be ‘extra-credit’ driven. An adult student who has more life experience or more education may actually have more interest in helping the environment.” Kirk is also a second year student at UWFox, and plans to transfer to Lawrence University next fall to major in Chinese and International Relations.

For more information about the Phi Theta Kappa program at UWFox, interested individuals can contact PTK advisor Dr. Rex Hieser, Associate Professor of Psychology at 920-832-2873 or email rex.hieser@uwc.edu.

Posted 4/23/2005