Radford University participates in Renew the New River volunteer effort

Close to 50 Radford University student volunteers helped clean up the New River on Aug. 27.

For many Radford University students, trips to the nearby New River are a much-loved tradition.

Maggie McDaniel, a senior nursing student, walks her dog, Lily, along the river bank at Bisset Park almost daily. Every August when she returns to campus for the fall semester, McDaniel and her friends schedule a few floats before the cold sets in.

As a geospatial science major, Benjamin Allamong has mapped several areas along the river while working for the city of Radford's GIS/Mapping Department. A native of Newport, a small town in which the New River flows, Allamong is an avid outdoorsman.

The New River, one of the world's oldest rivers, is also one of the most pristine. It remains this way thanks to the efforts of surrounding communities to keep it clean. McDaniel and Allamong, along with close to 45 other Radford University students, spent a recent Saturday contributing to its cleanliness.  

Radford University Outdoor Programs partnered with the city of Radford and the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski to "Renew the New River" on Aug. 27.

Radford University volunteers cleaned the section of the river from Dudley's Landing in Bisset Park to the Virginia 114 boat ramp. Students collected a mish mash of trash in boats as they floated along the river bank. Tires, trash bags full of bottles and washing machine drums were just a few of the finds.

"It was a beautiful day," McDaniel said. "Perfect for rowing down the river and also serving the community. We love the New River and appreciate the home-away-from-home feeling when swimming and playing with our pups in such a beautiful area."

Service to the community is an integral part of the Radford University experience.

"It was the least I could do to volunteer a few hours of my time and help out," Allamong said. "As an active staff member with Radford University Outdoors, I spend as much time as I can outside leading trips. I hold the outdoors close to me, and being able to give back by cleaning up this area that I've been living in my whole life is a privilege."

Andrew Borak, assistant director of Radford University's Outdoor Programs, said he was pleased with the student turnout and how motivated they were to help.

"Coming out of the river, they all had smiles on their faces," Borak said. "They were so happy to support such a great cause."

Borak said RU Outdoors plans to partner with the city of Radford for future clean-ups.


Aug 30, 2016
Mary Hardbarger