Friends of Five Wounds Trail
Please see the attached report on our trail clean up of April 21. It includes some data but also quotes from student reflection papers — please note how impressed and inspired they were by the comments of our resident participants and leaders.
The City of San Jose (Paul, of course) managed to haul some of the trash away on Sunday and VTA got their contractors out later in the week to finish up the job. We’re looking forward to closer collaboration with VTA for future clean ups now that the precedent has been set.
Friends of Five Wounds Trail (FFWT) and San Jose State University (SJSU)
Trail Clean-Up April 21, 2012
Terry Christensen (SJSU)
Joan-Rivas Cosby (FFWT)
Sabrina Duenas (CommUniverCity)
52 volunteers (32 San Jose State University students, 1 San Jose High School student, 3 St. John Baptist Youth Group and 16 community members (including 3 elementary school students) plus Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa!
We collected 43 big bags of trash, 1 sofa, 6 tires and one metal frame (for a truck bed?)
and eradicated 99 graffiti tags.
Hours of Service =130 (80 hours SJSU students; 50 hours others)
Students from the “Local Politics Class” at San Jose State University applied the following concepts from their course work in reflection papers: social capital, building community, sense of community, broken windows theory, coproduction, proactive politics, volunteerism, secondary groups, interest groups, immigration and immigrant communities, suburbanization, globalization, diversity, proactive vs. reactive groups, absentee ownership, empowerment, and integrating transportation modes.
- Going into the cleanup I didn’t even think that I would learn so much or meet so many great people who were so dedicated to one cause. Overall the community service project really opened my eyes to a lot of things about what it means to give back.
- Through activities like this, instead of being just a person in San Jose, we can be part of a community. It’s also good to do things with my classmates outside the class.
- If people see this area as abandoned and uncared for, they will treat it by littering and vandalizing it—the “broken windows theory” would apply!
- The individuals who spoke before the cleanup made it clear that they will remain active for years to come, showing a strong sense of community.
- Friends of Five Wounds Trail is a great example of a proactive community group.
- This kind of help to a community is why I became interested in political science.
- The atmosphere was electric, filled with high hopes and a “can-do” attitude. Having community members express their passion for the project helps engage others.
- The community leaders who helped with the cleanup were extremely excited about the project and this energy seemed to transfer to our class.
- The introductions by the community participants really allowed for the students to understand more about how much time and effort these volunteers give in hopes of building a better community in the future.
- People were interacting with people that I never see them talk to in class, including me.
- The cleaning allowed for students to interact with group leaders, other students and other volunteers, building new relationships.
- We were thankful for the community volunteers who came out. They were a small group of neighborhood volunteers who decided to take democracy into their own hands and make the railroad line into a trail by getting it into the city’s general plan. And they did all this just to benefit the community as a whole, with no funding from the government.
- This opportunity was the most inspiring community service project I’ve ever done. It gives me hope that if you want something done, you can do it!
- I really didn’t want to get up early and do this on a Saturday morning, but the passion of the
- community volunteers for the project caught my attention immediately. In the end, it was very satisfying and an amazing feeling knowing that I had taken a few hours out of my day to make a big impact on a community.
- It was inspiring to see all the people that joined in the cleanup and to hear the stories of the
- senior leaders.
- On this day, we observed social capital at work by community leaders with the trail cleanup.
- Although this is a less affluent area, the leaders have done a good job of creating a group with high civic engagement.
- In anthropological terms, primates are territorial creatures that defend what we
- consider “ours.” For the volunteers who live outside the community, we put in some work on the trail but for people living in the community, when they see that they have a beautiful trail, they will naturally protect and maintain their beloved space.
- The fact that less trash is collected every time this clean up is done proves the validity of broken windows theory.
- One volunteer thought we were seen as criminals because picking up trash is something they’re sometimes required to do as community service. I wonder if this discourages some community members from participating in projects like this.
- This is a great way of empowering communities – and students!
- And several students said being offered snacks and drinks made them feel appreciated while many noted that the fact that the event was well organized made it easy to participate.