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Office of Graduate Studies Organizes Beach Clean-up

The Office of Graduate Studies held its Fall 2022 Grad Students Give Back volunteer event on Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Phillips Avenue beach in Deal. Participants were tasked with cleaning the beach, collecting over 55 pounds of trash.

The event hailed participants from all over Monmouth’s community, including University graduate students, the MU Bowling Team, and Love Blue Monmouth Chapter members. Participants met and gathered together at a stand put up by Love Blue Monmouth.

This beach clean-up was organized by Samantha Jaslow, Graduate Assistant in the Office of Graduate Studies, in conjunction with Love Blue Monmouth Chapter’s club President, Mia Najd, and Vice President, Evan Rankl.

Jaslow explained how she got involved with leading the event. “I became the Graduate Assistant for the Office of Graduate Studies in the Fall of 2021, and I knew prior to taking the position that there were volunteer events that took place in the past.”

She continued, “In coming into the position, I was really excited to keep this going and to find a way to not only help the community but to build a community for ‘MU Grad Life.’ I am a graduate student myself in the School Counseling program, so I wanted to find a way to incorporate my passion of helping people into this job of planning and hosting events for graduate students.”

Jaslow elaborated on the importance of facilitating, through events like this one, a sense of community for graduate students at Monmouth.

“Graduate students are so unique in the way that so many of them may already be well into their careers or have families to care for, making it harder to find ways to attend social gatherings through campus… In Spring of 2022, I planned a Grad Students Give Back event with Monmouth University’s community garden on a Saturday morning and had students bring their families and children.”

She said, “We had such great feedback from that event that I knew I wanted to find another way to volunteer together this Fall of 2022.”

Jaslow reached out to the Love Blue Monmouth Chapter to partner in organizing a beach cleanup. She emphasized, “I really admire their mission and wanted them to have a way to reach a wider audience as well.”

Love Blue Monmouth is a chapter installation of the larger nonprofit, Love Blue Inc. Love Blue Inc. was established by local lifeguards and community surfers who sought to practice ocean conservation through community-based projects and beach cleanups.

According to Najd, “The Love Blue Monmouth chapter is an extension of the nonprofit organization, Love Blue Inc., which is headquartered out of Wildwood, New Jersey. We all work alongside each other to achieve the same goal of community outreach, organized beach cleanups, and advocating for sustainable options…With a great team of dedicated students, we are able to put together beach cleanups, fundraisers, and various activities.”

Najd, a senior marine and environmental biology and policy student, shared some insight into her position, as well as her vice president counterpart, Rankl. “As president and vice president, we handle the communication and behind the scenes work with headquarters and the other various collegiate chapters. We handle a lot of networking with different campus clubs and organizations.”

Rankl, a senior finance and real estate student, added, “A major role of ours is to excite people about the movement and the purpose of being a club member, in order to grow this organization as a whole. We want to continue to grow our impact on removing trash from our beaches.”

Nonetheless, Najd underscored that the event’s organization and success was a team-wide effort. “All executive board members help immensely with the set up and breakdown of cleanups, as well as getting groups to come out to the cleanups…As far as our collaboration with MU Grad Students, our team members helped to set up and break down the cleanup materials.”

Jaslow commented, “There was involvement from all sides, and we even had graduate students come and bring their friends and family to help out and get to know the mission of Love Blue Inc. It really starts to build a community and a way for people to connect, which has been my mission since day one of starting my graduate assistantship.”

Najd concluded, “Clean-ups like these are the core of our mission and are extremely important in growing our movement, inspiring people to remove trash from our beaches either as club members at our events or on our own time.”