Students do a little spring cleaning during Spring Jam

Volunteers picked up litter and trimmed hedges at Van Cleve Park in the Como area.

Vadim Lavrusik

Students took a break from other Spring Jam activities to help clean and improve minor landscaping Friday at Van Cleve Park in the Como neighborhood.

During the two-hour park cleaning, about 30 students picked up litter on the grounds and trimmed hedges that spilled over on a bike path while construction crews demolished the Bunge Tower grain elevator.

The event, mostly attended by fraternity and sorority members under the guidance of Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board crew members, was part of annual Spring Jam festivities.

Mike Sawers, member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, said it is easier for greeks to communicate to different chapters about specific events and rally people together.

“It’s easier for greeks to get involved,” he said.

And he speculated that’s why few students outside the greek community attended.

He said the cleanup was great because it directly helped a nearby neighborhood.

“Students do get a bad rep in the neighborhood because people think all we do is party,” he said. “And obviously people are going to have a good time on the weekends, but we want to show that we can give back to the community we live in, too.”

And the park board crew members who worked alongside students said they welcome any help they can get.

Mark McDonald, maintenance crew leader for the Minneapolis park board, said trimming the hedges along the bike path, which is one of the projects students took on, normally takes his crew a day to complete.

With the help of the students, the hedges were mostly finished within two hours.

“It’s just kind of an eyesore, and we normally don’t have time to finish these kinds of things,” McDonald said.

He said he welcomes the extra help from students because the park board is always looking for another hand to help improve parks in the city.

Alec Catsuros, Interfraternity Council president, said each year the greek community participates in some sort of philanthropy for Spring Jam, but this is the first time they have done a park cleanup.

Kelly Holtz, a Delta Gamma member, said she was happy to clean up Van Cleve Park because it’s in the neighborhood where she lives.

“There are so many people that come to this park, cleaning it helps everyone enjoy it,” Holtz said.

Southeast Como Improvement Association members and neighborhood residents cleaned up the whole neighborhood Saturday.

James De Sota, neighborhood coordinator for Southeast Como Improvement Association, said students cleaning the park helped the residents get ahead.

“It’s a big part of the neighborhood, so it helps getting that part done,” he said.