Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Professional Fraternity Organizes (Socially-Distanced) Community Clean-Up in Honor of George Floyd

By Jenny Pedraza

“We got the idea for a community clean-up because we thought actions speak louder than words, and with everything that’s been occurring throughout our community, this was one way to show support,” said Will Burns, ’21, a Virginia Commonwealth University homeland security and emergency preparedness major and vice president of Eta Lambda Sigma.

Eta Lambda Sigma is a homeland security and emergency preparedness professional fraternity with about 30 undergraduate and graduate student members at VCU. Eta Lambda Sigma’s mission is to enhance students’ educational and professional development through networking, practical experience, mentoring and community service.

With the help of Tito Luna, VCU’s neighborhood outreach director in the Center for Community Engagement and Impact, Burns was able to connect with the Historic Jackson Ward Association (HJWA) and the association’s president, Janis Allen.

The group organized a community clean-up event held June 9, concentrating on litter clean-up along Smith, Leigh, Marshall and Clay Streets. Volunteers were able to practice social distancing outdoors during their service.

“On behalf of  HJWA and the Jackson Ward community, I thank you for your support,” Allen said. “Your help was much needed, and your timing was perfect. The areas you cleaned up look great – Smith Street looks amazing!”

Burns said it is important for VCU students to be involved in community service activities, not only so they can be active members of the community, but also so they may contribute to a lasting positive impact on society as a whole.

“Being able to serve our community alongside my fellow ELS members and community partners was an enriching experience that I will never forget,” Burns said. “I enjoyed knowing that our organization was able make a difference in the community that surrounds our university and help the people and neighbors who live among us.”

For more information on service opportunities near campus, visit VCU Serves.