17 November 2012 • On–Campus • Virginia Nieuwsma
On a sunny autumn Saturday, students and staff at St. Vladimir's Seminary participated in a campus clean–up event, sponsored by the student–run Ecology Group. Open to anyone on campus who wanted to pitch in, the environmental effort was focused on the shores and water of Crestwood Lake, where debris had accumulated prior to Hurricane Sandy. While the lake affords the seminary's community with scenic views, and is home to local geese, ducks, and other water fowl, the area around the water's edge is heavily populated, and trash had blown across the lake, landing on the seminary's shoreline. The entire area was in desperate need of rehabilitation.
Third–year student and Ecology Group President Jesse Brandow organized the day, which commenced in chapel at 9:00 in the morning with the "Molieben Before Beginning Any Good Work," served by The Very Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel, chief Chapel Ecclesiarch. Over a dozen students then grabbed buckets, boots, and other assorted tools, and went to work. They were joined by some of the community's children who assisted their parents in the effort, as well as The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO, and erstwhile environmentalist and farmer.
"We worked until around 12:30 p.m.," noted Brandow. "The ground was covered in trash, and the water was full of it too. There was so much debris that we weren't able to clean the whole shoreline, but we made a lot of great progress and thoroughly cleaned the most visible area. We found mainly lots of bottles, plastic bags, balls, and some odd things like an animal skull, and a whole bunch of whole coconuts!"
The group finished off the event by enjoying homemade apple cobbler and apple cider, provided by a member of the Ecology Group.
Afterwards, Brandow reflected that "it was great to begin the morning in the chapel because it helped me to see our efforts in the right light. Even something as small and uninspiring as cleaning up a mess is part of God's continual renewal of creation. We could all smell the stench of rotting trash, an odor that could make a skunk blush. But as we worked through the trash together, I could also sense the fragrance of friendship and joy among us, the fragrance that burns in this world whenever we come together in Christ's name."