Texas A&M International University's Student Government Association (SGA) recently gathered 15 student volunteers from the University to participate in this Fall's "Adopt a Beach Clean-up Project" along Mustang Island, Corpus Christi. The students represented organizations such as the History Club, Psychology Club, Spanish Club, the Student Government Association, and A&M International. They joined volunteers from around the state to clean up Texas beaches.
The "Adopt -A- Beach" Program is an all-volunteer effort that has been dedicated to preserving and protecting Texas beaches for the past 14 years. Since the first clean-up in 1986, more than 239,000 volunteers have picked up 4,525 tons of trash along 200 miles of Texas beaches.
"When I first saw the beach at a distance, I did not really think that there was a lot of cleaning that had to be done. But once we started to clean the beach, I realized that the reason why I could not see the trash was because it was hidden deep inside the sand," stated Sylvia V. Ramos, one of the A&M International students who participated in the clean-up.
The other students who participated were Adriana Hernandez, Margarita Hernandez, Aladdin Hall, David Barrera, Erika Torres, Mary Pacheco, Heriberto Castro, Arturo Salazar, Cindy Estrada, Sylvia Camarona, Miguel Gutierrez, Elida Ramirez, Karim Serna, and Juan G. Saenz. The students were accompanied by Dave VerMilyea, director of Student Development.
The generous effort of the dedicated volunteers was greatly needed. Due to tide patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, trash dumped anywhere in the Gulf is likely to end up on a Texas beach.
"It was very sad to see how our Texas beaches are stricken everyday by conscious individuals who do not know the concept of using a trashcan," commented A&M International student Erika Torres.
The students took on the role of "data detectives." They recorded information such as the source and type of debris collected and documented the information on "data cards" provided by the Center for Marine Conservation.
The student reports have a direct influence on marine debris prevention and education. The data is crucial when it comes to tracing pollution sources and effective in reducing the amount of offshore dumping.
"Cleaning the beach was a fun and rewarding experience for all of us who attended," added University student Aladdin Hall, "We would do it again in a heartbeat."
For more information on upcoming student activities at A&M International, contact the University Office of Student Development at 326 2280 or the Student Government Association at 326-2265. University office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
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