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Nearly 200 participate Pride in Potsdam community cleanup

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POTSDAM - People visiting Potsdam this week may notice something a little different about the village thanks to the efforts of nearly 200 college students and community members who participated in the annual Pride in Potsdam Spring Cleanup.

“It’s been going on for quite a few years,” Potsdam Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marylee Ballou said, noting the cleanup has been going on “officially” for about eight years.

“Before then it was done by community members, it just wasn’t as organized,” she said. “Then we got the schools involved.”

Fraternities, sororities and athletic teams, as well as faculty and staff from Clarkson and SUNY Potsdam, now make up the bulk of the workforce, but those participating in the event didn’t seem to mind.

“We usually do this every year for basketball,” Clarkson junior Noelle Miller said. “At first it was just something to do, but now it has a little more meaning.”

Ms. Miller said this marked her third spring cleanup, and she was happy to be working at Fall Island Park, a place she had not worked at in prior years.

“This is a really nice part of the village, and it probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves,” she said.

Sam Pilnick, a sophomore at SUNY Potsdam, was a first-time participant in the event, working with members of his Phi Mu Alpha fraternity.

“We’re brand new to the Greek community,” he said, adding members of his group felt like this would be a good way to give back to the village they call home for a good part of the year.

“That’s what our fraternity is all about, giving back to our alma mater and the town,” he said.

Phi Mu Alpha, he said, is a music interest fraternity, made up mostly of The Crane School of Music students.

“We do a lot of community events like dinners at St. Mary’s and singing to the people at the hospital,” he said.

Not all of the participants connected to the colleges.

Romeyn Prescott brought his family to participate in the effort.

“It’s about civic pride,” he said, adding his wife, Amanda, and son, Kyle, would also be participating in the event.

Kyle said the time spent with his parents beautifying their hometown was also part of a community service project he was doing for school.

“We’ve read about it in previous years, but this is the first year we’ve been around to help,” Ms. Prescott said.

Ms. Ballou said she was pleased with the turnout, especially considering the brisk conditions and the fact the event had originally scheduled for last week.

“I think it’s great,” she said, adding this weekend was the last one before finals at Clarkson.

“We were happy to still be able to get the Clarkson students involved,” she said.

Ms. Ballou said work sites in the village included Ives Park, Cubley Park, Gardner Park, Fall Island Park, Sandstoner Drive, Pine Street Park and many of the villages public parking lots, with a focus on the downtown area.

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