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Re:wild Brandeis organizes reservoir cleanup

Re:wild Brandeis, formerly known as Herbicide-Free Brandeis, met on campus and ventured to the nearby water reservoir to pick up trash, on Saturday, Sept. 3. The cleanup began around 1 p.m. and lasted approximately two hours. 

In an interview with The Brandeis Hoot, a representative of Re:wild Brandeis explained that there were 11 people at the event on Saturday. All of the volunteers in attendance were provided with gloves and trash bags by Re:wild Brandeis. 

“We do a few cleanups each year,” Re:wild Brandeis told The Hoot, such as their previous reservoir cleanup in the fall of last year. “There was a lot of trash because the reservoir is an unofficial swimming spot, so there are no trash cans,” the club stated. This causes litter to pile up, according to Re:wild: “… when people see so much litter around they assume they can do the same.” One student who attended the event, Ethan Meilander ’25, explained in an interview with The Hoot that “It’s a very popular place for the ‘Deisians’ to go. People like to go swimming there, but lately it’s been a mess so we thought why not take it into our own hands?”

Re:wild Brandeis has also previously held weeding days at green spaces on campus. According to a previous Hoot article, the club collaborated with the university’s groundskeeper, Chris Gould, to remove weeds and invasive species from Brandeis’ campus. 

The on-campus environmental activism group wrote in an Instagram post on Aug. 28 that “[cleaning up the reservoir] is an important cause because it’s our responsibility to keep the nature around us clean.” On Saturday, nearly every volunteer at the event walked out with three full bags of trash they had collected, according to Re:wild. “The event was very successful,” they explained to The Hoot. Meilander told The Hoot that the reservoir looked noticeably different after the event, although there was still some trash left behind, primarily shards of glass. Objects found during the cleanup included broken glass, an unused tampon, a Capri Sun straw, a dab pen and much more. 

Re:wild Brandeis is a new name for the student group, as they were formerly known as Herbicide-Free Brandeis. The Hoot asked the group about the change in club title: “Originally we were a chapter of Herbicide-Free Campus,” the group explained. “Our goal was to get Brandeis to transition to organic land care by shifting land management practices away from heavy herbicide use, and we are now joining Re:wild Your Campus (formerly Herbicide-Free Campus) in their transition with the vision of transforming our campus into a regenerative ecosystem.” 

The Re:wild Your Campus website explains how “Re:wild Your Campus provides students with tools to work with groundskeepers, develop campaign strategies, and provide alternatives in order to transition their campuses to organic land maintenance and ultimately re-wild and revolutionize landcare and create safer spaces for all.” Brandeis’ chapter of the group, which graduated from the Re:Wild Your Campus fellowship last year, is upholding the goals of the organization, telling The Hoot that “eliminating herbicides and decolonizing aesthetics is one piece of the puzzle to create a safer campus for all and we hope to promote biodiversity and climate resilience in our continued work.”

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