JCU Volunteers Participate in Retake Roma Cleanup

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Retake Clean Up March 31, 2019

Members of JCU’s Retake Roma clean-up team

A delegation of volunteers from John Cabot University participated in Retake Roma’s #Bellaroma project on Sunday, March 31. Retake Roma is a Roman non-profit grassroots movement committed to raising awareness and care for cultural heritage while respecting the environment.

#Bellaroma consisted in the cleanup of four different areas of Rome: Colle Oppio (Municipio I), Largo Fratelli Lumiere (Municipio III), Piazza Ragusa (Town Hall- VII), and the Fishermen’s Canal in Ostia (Municipio X).

John Cabot volunteers, led by the Office of Community Service and the Grassroots Club, focused primarily on the Colle Oppio Park, one of Rome’s stunning public gardens situated right above the Colosseum.

According to La Repubblica, one of Italy’s leading newspapers, over 3,000 citizens volunteered for the #Bellaroma project, while over 50,000 people supported and promoted the cause on Facebook and Twitter. Fifty associations, including the Italian Red Cross, La Repubblica, and the Region of Lazio, joined the cleanup on Sunday. Many delegations, including the Embassies of Japan, the U.S., Estonia, Canada, the Philippines, and Romania, supported the initiative. In addition to John Cabot, Temple University, New York University, and LUISS also contributed to the cause.

Retakers distributed a vast array of tools ranging from brooms, mops, and sponges to remove graffiti from marble walls, to gardening materials and paint to beautify the park.

JCU volunteers, including students, staff, faculty and their families, mostly focused on picking up and dividing recyclable trash. They also worked on removing overgrown weeds and cleaning up graffiti. According to one volunteer, “plastic and cigarette butts were the most commonly collected waste items, which makes one think about the large amount of trash that often goes unnoticed, at great damage to the environment.”

In just a few hours of work, Colle Oppio looked completely different: the alleyways were clean, the benches re-varnished, graffiti was less visible, and trash of all kinds had been taken away from the grassy areas. All volunteers felt rewarded and satisfied with their incredible work. The #Bellaroma cleanup proved that even a small group of conscious citizens can raise awareness, build communities, and support the environment.