Trash Mob

Trash MobBaltimore spends around $10 million a year on litter cleanup. The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is helping to change that.

On Sept. 10, UMB students and staff volunteered for a one-hour “trash mob” in the heart of the historic Pigtown neighborhood.

The Welcome Month event idea was inspired by a video from Zero Litter, says event coordinator Whitney Brown, educational access coordinator for the Office of Academic Affairs.

The idea behind the video, according to Zero Litter, was to show that a few people in a short amount of time can make a huge difference and help keep Baltimore clean.

Brown and Katie Wollman, event coordinator from Campus Life Services, wanted to do just that. But what they didn’t anticipate was that members of the community living nearby would join in the cleanup.

“This is great, much better than I expected,” Brown says.

“It’s nice to make a difference,” says Katherine “Katie” Kim, a first-year School of Nursing student who volunteered because she likes community service and wants to be more involved.

Garbage bags, tools, and gloves were provided thanks to Pigtown Food for Thought, the Baltimore Community ToolBank and a generous donation from the School of Social Work’s student-led Community Action Network (CAN).

The cleanup took place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the corner of James and Ostend streets in West Baltimore.

“We looked for an area that needed work but wasn’t too far from campus,” Wollman says.

Patricia Greenwell, a third-year student at the Francis King Carey School of Law, volunteered because “keeping the environment clean is something I’m passionate about.” 

In that hour, with help from the community, UMB completely cleared the area of trash. 

Brown hopes they can continue cleanup efforts on a more annual basis.

Afterward, volunteers relaxed and enjoyed a cookout catered by CulinArt in front of the SMC Campus Center.

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