Foreign Fulbright

Cleaning up Trash in the United States – and Learning from It

November 5, 2015
Tri Murniati

Tri Murniati, 2014-2016, Indonesia (second from right), having fun drawing with kids at the Fayetteville Public Library for the Macaroni Kid ‘Be the Match’ Bone Marrow Registry Drive

My name is Tri Murniati and I am from Indonesia. Currently, I am studying at the University of Arkansas majoring in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. Community service and volunteering activities have helped me to adjust to my new life in the United States as a Fulbrighter, and feel fortunate to have had these opportunities. They have allowed me to meet new people, make friends and learn many things. Since arriving in the Unites States, I have participated in two large community service events.

The first was the Macaroni Kid ‘Be the Match’ Bone Marrow Registry Drive and the second was the Town Branch Clean-up. My participation in these activities was organized by the University of Arkansas Muslim Student Association (UArk MSA). Ever since I joined UArk MSA, I have had an opportunity get involved in community service activities. The Macaroni Kid ‘Be the Match’ Bone Marrow Registry Drive was held last September at the Fayetteville Public Library in Arkansas. The event was hosted by Team Macaroni Kid Fayetteville, which has partnered with Be the Match to help patients get bone marrow transplants. Team Macaroni Kid invites many committed donors to join the Be the Match Registry, raise funds, and spread the word about this special way of saving lives. The event was also intended to raise awareness about helping other people. As a volunteer, my main task was to assist kids while their parents signed up for the registry, all of which ended up being pretty fun.

The second activity was the Town Branch Clean-up, which was also held last September at Walker Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas. During the event, we were expected to collect trash in the park. This event was hosted by the Beaver Watershed Alliance, which conducts programming to help maintain high quality drinking water and improve water quality of the Beaver Lake Watershed. This event was exciting because I had never had this kind of opportunity back home in Indonesia.

These community service events have inspired me to reproduce the same types of volunteer activities back home, especially town clean-ups, because trash has been a national problem for Indonesia. The government has tried many programs to deal with the country’s trash issue, but they have not yielded any fruitful results to date. Organizing a town clean-up volunteer opportunity will be a good way to involve local communities and as a start, I intend to introduce a similar clean-up program to my home institution’s campus, the University of Jenderal Soedirman in Purwokerto, Indonesia. Hopefully, I can invite my colleagues and students to participate! Such a program will help the local government and, little by little, we can spread awareness to the larger local community and invite them to participate as well. I am optimistic that such kinds of volunteering will help Indonesia in the future.

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  • Reply Sappy November 11, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Trash is a worldwide problem. I believe that cleaning your own garbage is the first step to resolving this problem. We shouldn’t let other people clean our wastes.

    • Reply Tri Murniati December 11, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Yes, you are right. I could not agree more that the very first step is started to clean our own garbage. When each of us is aware of this, we then can raise the community awareness.

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