Written By: Matt Gay 18′
13 years ago Professor William Kuehn started a community service project in the Whitehall, New York/ West Haven, Vermont area at the Buckner Preserve. The class works in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy to clean up the area. The project’s main focus has been to clean up the preserve, teach students about the impacts of illegal dumping, and work towards minimizing and eventually eliminating illegal dumping in that area all together. Every fall semester, Professor Kuehn’s first year seminar group travels to the Buckner preserve and picks up, searches through, and catalogs trash and non-natural items they find. In doing this, the group hopes they can find an address or name linking the garbage. I have been involved in this project for three years now. I began as a student participating in picking up from the illegal dumping for a First Year Seminar. These last two years I took on a new perspective through being a student teacher for the class. I have helped to mentor the students in the class. I felt it was important to stay involved in this project over the years because as a first year student, it was very eye opening that this was such a big issue. I felt that it would be really cool to help future students see that as well. This project is an important aspect of the course because as a sociology class, we are really focused on what groups of people do, and why. It is vital to become civically engaged in our communities. Being civically engaged helps to build our community and it shows that as a University we don’t just care about ourselves but also our surroundings.