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Successful student group, Trash Force, started by physics undergrads and advised by Dr. Jennifer Weinberg-Wolf has been cleaning up campus and gaining popularity!
By Chapel Hill

Trash Force may not the most glamorous club on UNC’s campus, but these students are just happy to be making a difference through school spirit that goes beyond the stadium.

The Carolina Girls — UNC Chapel Hill’s dance team — are known for keeping the crowd energized during football and basketball games, but one dancer noticed the unfortunate aftermath of events on campus — trash of all kinds left behind to break down in the environment.

Meredith Pritchard holds a bag full of trash found on campus during a collection. (Spectrum News 1/Rachel Boyd)
“You see it coming back, you see it at the games. It’s not a malicious thing, but people forget. They leave trash in places, and that can be really bad for the environment,” said Meredith Pritchard, a member of UNC’s Trash Force.

The group of students takes pride in the looks of the school and wants to keep it looking sharp for the all those who come after them. Pritchard and her friends saw this as an easy way to be part of the solution, even if it does take time out of their schedules.

“I just care a lot about the environment, and I always have, and I just don’t think it’s too hard to go and try to help your community a little bit,” Pritchard said.

When the rest of her team found out how she spends her time outside of practice they were more than a little curious. To show their support they all joined her for a trash pick-up, where they collected over 75 pounds of trash.

“While it was really exciting to pick up that much trash and help our community in that way, it is a little bit disheartening sometimes to know there is that much trash out there,” Pritchard said.

Trash Force was set in motion last spring and is aiming to collect 300 pounds of trash before the year is over. Pritchard said they spend the majority of their time in some of the lesser-known places on campus, which is where all the trash tends to flow and pile up. Litter in the form of bottles, electronic cigarettes and vape pods are by far the most common items they find around campus.

“Now that I’ve noticed how much trash is out there, it’s definitely something that I make a concerted effort to [do],” Pritchard said. “If I’m just walking to class, and I see a cup on the sidewalk or a can over here. We do what we can in the club, but it’s important act the same way outside the club.”

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