March 19, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee has become a little greener after the Lady Vol rowing team took time out of its spring training schedule to host Clean-up Day at the Tennessee Rowing Boathouse on Monday. Clean-up Day was the brainchild of sophomore Rachel Dooley who wanted to demonstrate the team's commitment to the university's "Go Green" initiatives and community by caring for the environment.
"I felt like there was so much that our team could do that would make a big difference for our area," Dooley said. "If everyone would just take a little extra time to help out, the impact would be tremendous."
The Orange and White partnered with UT Facilities Services and the Sustainability Office on campus to design their project to meet the needs of the area around the boathouse.
The morning began with an educational talk from the Tennessee Water Research Center about the poor quality of the creeks in Knox County. Next, the team got to work as several student-athletes dressed in waders and armed themselves with gloves and trash bags to pick litter out of Second Creek. Others grabbed rakes and hedge clippers to scale back the overgrown brush around the creek bank. The final group of rowers scraped paint from the nearby tunnel that had been covered in vandalism in preparation for a new paint job.
"I am excited the team was able to work together and make an impact at the university," UT Head Coach Lisa Glenn said. "This was a great opportunity for us to set an example for the rest of the community."
Not only did the team help clean up the area around the boathouse, but many of the Lady Vols came away with a new appreciation for the environment.
"I had no idea the creek was this dirty," senior coxswain Jessica Williams said. "I was amazed at all the trash I saw while I was wading along the water. It's sad to see old fast food containers and aluminum cans floating by and realize that every piece of trash littered makes a difference because it all adds up."
The Lady Vols hope that Clean-up Day will become an annual spring event as the squad looks to continue its commitment to caring for the environment.
"I really hope we can do this again soon because I feel like we made a difference today," freshman Paula Coughlin said. "The creek really needed help and it was great for our team to be able to spend a few hours of our day working in this area."
With Clean-up Day behind it and the boathouse area looking spick and span, Tennessee will kick off the spring season this Saturday against Minnesota. The two squads will meet at 10 a.m. on Lake Loudoun.