Written for The Argo by Catherine Parmenter
POMONA, N.J., April 15— On April 10, Love Blue Inc. held a beach clean-up on 35th street in Brigantine, N.J. in collaboration with Stockton Greek organizations and other student clubs.
Love Blue is a local non-profit responsible for hosting beach clean ups in South Jersey and across the east coast. Some 80 Stockton students gathered on Brigantine Beach last Saturday morning with blue buckets in hand, ready for the beach sweeps. These volunteers were from Stockton’s Love Blue club, the Habitat for Humanity club, andseveral Greek life organizations including Delta Phi Epsilon, Alpha Chi Rho, and Phi Delta Theta. The group split in two, covering ground east and west of 35th street. Love Blue bracelets and T-shirts are awarded to those who collect the most trash. Over the course of a single semester, the Love Blue Stockton chapter removes approximately 1,000 pounds of trash from local beaches on average.
Brigantine was chosen for the cleanup because the spot has a reputation for “public partying.” Sean Lavender, Co-founder and Vice President of Love Blue, was very pleased with the turn out, even though there wasn’t a lot of strewn trash at the location. “Only 25 pounds of trash were picked up when we typically pull out over 100,” says Lavender, who explains that the lack of trash is due to a small population and regular beach raking. “Also, the sand pack from heavy beach traffic allows the trash to be blown into the wooded area in the back of the beach.” Lavender emphasizes the importance of picking up trash, regardless of the quantity. A clean beach is a sign that the community as a whole is doing something right.
Lavender has been planning community service events with Stockton students for four semesters now. He is a senior at Stockton and has recently started an official Love Blue club at Stockton University. Love Blue typically holds their clean-ups with Stockton at the Atlantic City campus, which sits right on the boardwalk. Recently, Lavender has been trying to branch out and cover other beaches within the community.
At the end of each cleanup event, Lavender and his team will stay behind to sort and weigh all of the trash. “We found a lot of shotgun shells from the duck hunters inland,” says Lavender. “It’s not uncommon, but Brigantine seemed to have the most.” Love Blue aims to repurpose much of the trash they collect. Anything that cannot be repurposed is properly disposed of.
Nick Olsen, a brother of Alpha Chi Rho and a Love Blue member, was also very pleased with such a great turn out, particularly within the Greek community. “It was probably one of the biggest events out of all of our clean ups with the Love Blue Stockton chapter,” Olsen says. As an active member of Love Blue, Olsen hopes to continue to get his brothers involved.
Delta Phi Epsilon’s community service chair Connie Bevacqua also hopes to keep her organization involved with Love Blue. She says, “What is most rewarding about the clean-up is seeing everyone come together and do something for a good cause.” For additional information about Love Blue Inc. and upcoming events visit the Love Blue website and follow the Love Blue Instagram page.
About Love Blue Inc.
Love Blue Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to promoting sustainability and keeping the environment and oceans clean. The non-profit is known for hosting beach cleanups since the summer of 2019 when Sean Lavender and AJ Caruso founded Love Blue with a group of lifeguards and surfers who shared a vision of creating a more sustainable future. Love Blue’s first cleanup took place in Wildwood Crest, N.J. two years ago. Today, it has chapters at multiple universities across the east coast including Stockton. In the fall of 2019, Lavender, Vice President and Co-Founder of Love Blue, began hosting cleanups at the Atlantic City campus in collaboration with Stockton athletic teams, student clubs, and Greek organizations. Since then, Stockton student volunteers have completed more cleanups in neighboring towns such as Ocean City and Brigantine. In March 2021, Lavender officially started a Love Blue Club at Stockton University so that students can continue to get involved in the blue movement after he graduates in the spring of 2021. Any student can join the Love Blue Chapter via the Osprey Hub on the GoStockton Portal. The cleanups are also open to the public and are posted regularly on the Love Blue website and its Instagram page.
Contact: Sean Lavender
Telephone: (609) 579-9821