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PTK ‘cleans up’ with anti-litter award

A Copiah-Lincoln Community College sophomore recentlyrepresented the school’s honorary society when they won first placenationally for their work to keep the world litter-free.

Co-Lin Phi Theta Kappa President Ashlee Richardson, 19, recentlywent with her father Chet to Washington, D.C., to accept firstplace for her chapter in a contest sponsored by Keep AmericaBeautiful.

“We’d done a lot of projects to help prevent littering, and wesubmitted a booklet to be judged,” she said, adding that thebooklet was composed of different projects the chapter had donethroughout the year.

The group won the award over other anti-litter groups from allover the country, Richardson said.

Phi Theta Kappa, which focuses on scholarship, leadership andservice had several projects throughout the year, Richardson said,including one that centered around cleaning the debris litteringBrookway Boulevard after Hurricane Gustav. Another project theyfeatured in their entry was a drive to recycle Mardi Gras beads andredistribute them through the Salvation Army the next year.

“We also had a plastic bag drive where people brought us theirplastic Wal-Mart or grocery bags, and we recycled those,” she said.”We’ve done so many projects it’s hard to remember them all.”

Richardson said litter is her pet project because it affectseveryone, and it should be easy to fix.

“It’s a problem that faces everybody, and it’s just gettingworse and worse,” she said. “And the worst part is that it’sunnecessary. It’s not hard to just put things in garbage cans.”

Once her tenure as PTK president is over, Richardson said shehopes to continue her efforts for a cleaner environment at theUniversity of Southern Mississippi.

“I hope to keep working on this here, but also in Hattiesburg,”the education major said. “Keep America Beautiful is a PTK project,and we’ve targeted litter on campus, and we’ve tried to keep ineveryone’s mind that it’s important because of the health of theenvironment.”

Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society for two-yearcolleges, which states as its two-fold mission “recognizing andencouraging the academic achievement of two-year college studentsand providing opportunities for individual growth and developmentthrough participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowshipprogramming.” Co-Lin’s chapter currently has around 200members.