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GCH Students Clean Up Occoquan River

Global and Community Health students volunteered during the annual Occoquan River Clean Up.

Thirteen students from Shannyn Snyder’s Health and Environment and Health and Literature courses joined the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District and Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition to clean up several sites along the Occoquan River. They cleaned up glass and litter and also found some unusual items, including coolers, clothing, and a plastic chair.

GCH Students Help Cleanup Occoquan River

On Saturday, April 11, a group of Global and Community Health (GCH) students participated in the annual Occoquan River cleanup. The group, comprised of students in GCH 360 and GCH 390, included Ashley Pevia, Chanda Liaqat, Avery Sipes, Taylor Allen, Amanda Nguyen, Ellie Mirzaei, Chelsea Yeung, Taryn Kelly, Sunyoung Park, and Sepi Norouzz. Adjunct instructor Shannyn Snyder and GCH 498 student and Water Health Educator intern Brigitte Keen organized the GCH students’ participation in this activity to allow students practical application of course material while giving back to the community. The riverbed cleanup took place at multiple locations, including Hooes Run and Lake Jackson Dam, where students helped with the removal of numerous items that ranged from cans and bottles to tires to more unusual items including a giant metal safe filled with rocks.

River cleanup was divided into focused groups. Nguyen and Allen both focused on safe removal of the broken glass at the water’s edge. Nguyen noted that this was a tedious, yet important task as the glass shards could affect local wildlife. Allen added that the glass is dangerous for people visiting the river who do not have the proper footwear and protection.

Students Kelly and Yeung participated in river cleanup from a boat, picking up hard-to-reach trash that included items such as flip flops, cans, bottles, and even parts of a dock. Another group focused on sorting the debris from the river into trash or recycling. Park, who participated in this group, said, “Recycling is very important for our environment because it reduces water, air, and soil pollutants.” By the end of the day, students had collected enough trash to fill a dozen giant bags.

GCH Students, Alumna Advocate During END7 Event

Three students and one alumna from the Department of Global and Community Health attended the second annual END7 Student Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill on March 1. Erica Street, MPH candidate, Selma Melkich, MPH alumna and policy coordinator at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Hana Hanfi, global and community health major, and Bezawit Teferi, community health major, all participated.

The group, which also included students from 13 other universities, advocated on behalf of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). END7, an international grassroots advocacy campaign run by the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, works to raise awareness and funding to control and eliminate the seven most common NTDs: ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworm, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and onchocerciasis. Students from universities across the United States and locally had the opportunity to advocate alongside policy coordinators from Sabin Vaccine Institute.

The group also heard presentations from Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Malaria and NTDs, Barbara Bush, CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps, and Dr. Peter Hotez, president and director of the Sabin Product Development Partnership. Prior to meetings with congressional offices throughout the day, students were briefed on NTDs by professionals from federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the Global Network.