The Community Service Leadership Council (CSLC) hosted its 13th annual Athens Beautification Day on Sunday, April 9. Over 800 volunteers spent the day cleaning up various sites around Ohio University and the greater Athens area.
The goal of the event is to encourage Ohio University students to become involved with the Athens community, and to give back to where they live.
This year, Athens Beautification Day was preceded by Athens Beautification Week. CSLC partnered with Greek life and Athens-based nonprofit organizations in order to draw attention to Athens Beautification Day, and connect to a larger portion of the community. This included fundraising for the River Road Rabbit Rescue and a dunk tank event with the Chi Omega sorority.
Other environmentally-focused events are taking place in Athens throughout April to celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day, such as seed giveaways, a sustainability film series at the Athena Cinema and a march for science.
The Athena Cinema, which first opened in 1915, is one of the oldest movie theaters in the country. Located at 20 S. Court St., the Athena shows a variety of movies genres on their three screens, from acclaimed independent films to movies produced by Ohio University students. The Athena will host its 44th annual International Film and Video Festival from April 3 to April 9.
This video delves into the history and current uses of the Athena, and tells of two students’ experiences with the theater:
Namaste! Here’s what you need to know to get your day started:
Jessamyn Stanley is an incredible yogi, instructor and writer who defies every stereotype of the typical “yoga body.” She encourages others to focus on how they feel – rather than how they look – during their practice. You can check out her website here.
While I spend an inordinate amount of time (and money) at Donkey Coffee, and often spend time with my friends in various places around campus, my absolute favorite place in Athens is Strouds Run State Park.
Strouds can be found at 11661 State Park Rd., after traversing up the steep hills of eastern Athens and the winding, tree-line roads of the state park.
Strouds is a great place for hiking, swimming, canoeing or any other outdoor activities. On nice days, the park and beach area are often packed with visitors, from old couples relaxing on a picnic bench, to college students throwing a Frisbee on the beach, to young families hiking together.
Some of my favorite memories from my first semester of college were made at Strouds. During one of my first weekends in Athens, a group of my friends and I spontaneously decided to go to Strouds. We all packed into a Green Cab, gawking at the narrow, curving streets of Athens that were previously unknown to us.
When we arrived at our destination, we spent the whole day lying on the beach and swimming. I remember being in awe of the natural beauty of the park, and I felt grateful to attend school in such a picturesque, serene area.
About a month later, I found myself at Strouds again after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. After services, it is customary to perform tashlich, which involves casting bread into a body of water to rid oneself of the regrets of the past year. The congregation at Hillel decided to do tashlich at Strouds, so my friend and I rode in the car of an older couple from the community.
After Rabbi Danielle handed out stale challah and leftover cookies from Shabbat services to congregants, we dispersed around the beach to do tashlich and quietly self-reflect.
Of the forty-some people who were there, I spent the longest time sitting by Dow Lake, in awe of the scenery around me. I thought a lot about the past year as I crouched in the soft grass—the places I’d traveled, graduating high school, beginning college—and what I looked forward to in the upcoming year.
After I did not have any more bread to toss into the lake, I joined the rest of the congregants on the beach. They were all gathered around Luna, the one year old daughter of Lauren, a Hillel employee, for Luna’s baby naming. It is traditional for Jewish kids to be given their Hebrew names sometime during their early years of life, and Luna’s parents chose to have the ceremony on the banks of Dow Lake that day. Lauren emotionally spoke to members of the Athens Jewish community of the origins of her daughter’s Hebrew name. It was an incredibly special moment to be a part of.
I have always loved hiking and connecting with nature, and Strouds is the perfect place to do that. On nice days, I crave the feeling of solitude and peace I know that I can find at Strouds. Even though it is over six miles away from campus, I am happy to make the trip and reconnect with the world around me. Amidst the stress of school and work, I know that I can go to Strouds and find solace.