SOEST students gather for beach clean-up, connection

A group of SOEST students and friends gathered at Makapu‘u Beach recently for a beach clean-up and disposed of over 75 pounds of trash and debris. During this event, one of the first in-person community-building events since the pandemic started two years ago, students enjoyed fellowship and caring for one of O‘ahu’s beautiful beaches.

“At the SOEST Club meetings, students discussed activities they were interested in doing to give back and help the community,” said Maya Singh, an undergraduate student in the Global Environmental Science program at SOEST. “Many of us were interested in doing a beach cleanup because it’s such a great way to respect the land and clean up one of the most beautiful beaches here on the island.”

Singh and fellow students Isabella Ternes and Connor Shea, who is the SOEST Club advisor and an oceanography graduate student teamed up to organize the event.

About 30 participants, mainly undergrads in SOEST as well as friends of SOEST students came to help and clean up the beach. UH’s fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi joined as well with about 15 members attending.

As with many activities during the pandemic, SOEST Club social and service events had been on pause. This was the first in-person service event for the group since early 2020. 

“It was so great to see the enthusiasm that so many people brought to the event,” said Shea. “I think that everyone was just really excited to come out and participate in something when there have been so few opportunities to come together as a community in the past couple of years.”

“We thought that this would be a great way to connect many SOEST students who have similar interests to get to know new people while doing something good for the environment,” said Singh. “This event was a huge success and it felt really good knowing that we made a small change to this beautiful beach. Although it was great that we were able to get out there and help, there is still so much that can be done and cleaned up. This will definitely not be SOEST’s last beach cleanup!”

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