Lehigh Library and Technology services communications strategist Kathleen Frederick has started an initiative to pick up trash in the Lehigh Valley.
Frederick’s initiative is called Lehigh Valley Cleanup and she has been cleaning up the community for over a year.
Frederick said she started the initiative, officially named it and created business cards that direct people to her social media pages to recruit more to help her and make a bigger difference than she could alone.
“I created a business card and put my information on it and my socials so when I’m out cleaning the Lehigh Valley and people ask me ‘What are you doing?’ I just tell them ‘Hey, we’re LV (Lehigh Valley) Cleanup and this is what we do as volunteers,” Frederick said.
Frederick said she sent a proposal to the city of Bethlehem outlining how they can work together to clean up the area. One of the ideas is an adopt-a-block program, which would recruit volunteers to host cleanups in different areas. Frederick said she is hoping the city will provide supplies while she can work on marketing and advertising for the program.
In her proposal, Frederick also outlined a way to recruit the Southside ambassadors who are hired workers that collect trash on Lehigh University’s campus.
Frederick has already hosted clean-ups where some Lehigh students have volunteered, but she hopes that in the future she can increase student engagement.
Adrian Suarez, ‘22, is one student who has volunteered with Frederick in the past.
Suarez first heard about Frederick’s initiative through the Community Service Office newsletter. Suarez said he also thought that this was a great service opportunity and a way to clean up his community.
“You can see the trash build up, and when I heard that there was something going to be specifically devoted to cleaning up certain parts of campus I was like, ‘Alright,’” Suarez said.
Suarez also said he wanted to help with Frederick’s initiatives and would continue to go to her cleanup events because it’s gratifying to see his campus clean of trash and know that he helped make that possible.
Frederick’s initiative expands beyond the Bethlehem area as she also hosts cleanups in Allentown.
Marlene Lakey, a Bethlehem resident, is one of several who have come to Frederick’s cleanup events.
Lakey said that she wanted to take part in the initiative because she saw Frederick’s individual efforts and wanted to help her to make a difference.
“She was out there for four or five months picking up trash all by herself and I felt guilty just sitting here doing nothing,” Lakey said. “I asked her one day if I could go out and help her.”
Lakey emphasized the importance of having clean up efforts. She said that if people don’t do their part, everyone would be living in a trash heap. Lakey said now that she’s taken part in a lot of Frederick’s cleanups, she’s much more conscious of the trash in her neighborhood when she’s outside.
“One day I went out and took a 10-minute walk around my neighborhood, and I couldn’t believe how much trash there was,” Lakey said. “I went back to the house, got my grabber and my trash bag, and went back out there again and picked up all the garbage.”