On the beautiful morning of Friday, April 26, UNM Staff rallied together to volunteer for a memorable event, Campus Cleanup Day, co-sponsored by Institutional Support Services (ISS) and Facilities Management (FM).

This Keep UNM Beautiful initiative was held to celebrate the end of Earth Month with 46 enthusiastic volunteers and family members representing various departments from within the Executive Vice President for Finance & Administration (EVPFA) umbrella who committed to the half-day event.

Volunteers lineup to check-in as part of UNM's first-ever ISS Campus Cleanup Day.

Planning to Make a Change
Meticulous planning and enthusiastic anticipation set the stage for a remarkable event leading up to the staff Campus Cleanup Day. Organized by a dedicated team with members from ISS and FM, Giovanna Archuleta, the administrative officer from the ISS Vice President’s office, spearheaded the initial concept and planning.

“Today’s event was an idea that I have had for a while. Coming from FM and working on campus more, I saw an opportunity for departments to work together. FM and the UNM campus grounds have a special place in my heart. Every weed pulled, each piece of trash picked up, or leaf debris removed makes a great improvement,” Giovanna said. “This event showcased to others in our UNM community that we can get out of our offices and volunteer right here on our campus, our city within a city, without going far.

“It was touching to see and hear our Grounds & Landscaping peers appreciate the help they received, as well as volunteers who said this was the highlight of their day and can’t wait to do it again. It makes me emotional to think that one small act of kindness not only helped the campus, but our administrative staff to go out and engage with new teams working together towards a common goal.”

The cleanup day was an opportunity to achieve tangible goals that could be enjoyed by all visitors across campus. Objectives were set to improve the cleanliness and aesthetics of our campus, promote sustainability practices, and cultivate a sense of pride and ownership among staff members.

Cross-Department Collaboration
The day saw a great turnout for the first planned event, with 46 volunteers representing diverse departments and backgrounds coming together for a common cause. Among the volunteers were members from administration, human resources, finance, groundskeeping, marketing, additional family members and more. Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) joined the event, ready to attend to participants if needed. Volunteers embraced the opportunity to work alongside colleagues they might not interact with daily, breaking down departmental silos and strengthening interdepartmental relationships.

A "Before and After" visual of a tree well highlighting the team work that went into UNM's Campus Cleanup Day.

From Tree Planting to Mulching, and Everything Between
One of the highlights of the day was a tree-planting initiative, adding to UNM’s lush grounds. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves, dug into the earth, and carefully planted trees around the campus, contributing to our sustainability efforts and ensuring a greener future. Another crucial aspect of the cleanup day involved weeding and mulching where volunteers removed weeds from garden beds and walkways.

A representative from FM indicated the importance of mulching because it gives back to the Earth by retaining moisture when rock does not. “You have to give something to the Earth to get something back." Mulch helps conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and improve the overall health of our landscaped areas. Each activity was a testament to the collective dedication and hard work of our staff members.

Thank You UNM
Vice President for Institutional Support Services Shawna Wolfe thanked the volunteers for their efforts, indicating that more opportunities to volunteer are on the horizon.

"Today was a beautiful day to work alongside the team and give back to the earth and campus. We extend sincere gratitude to all the dedicated volunteers, event organizers, and the grounds team who contributed to the success of our first-ever event,” said Wolfe. "Your efforts exemplify the spirit of UNM and reinforce our commitment to making a difference together.”

The staff Campus Cleanup Day illustrates the transformative power of volunteerism, teamwork, and community spirit. What began as a collective effort to tidy our surroundings blossomed into an experience that enriched our workplace culture and strengthened our bonds as a team. Beyond planting trees and pulling weeds, seeds of collaboration and unity were planted that will continue to grow and flourish within UNM.