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Locals, visitors chip in to beautify ‘the heart of the valley’

Southeast Asian scholar program gets dirty for cleanup

From the article:

“We’re using our small force against the world,” said team leader Kelsey Derouen.

Derouen, a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, oversaw a group of seven volunteers, all of whom recently came to the United States through the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, a five-week government-sponsored fellowship program focusing on civic engagement.

The volunteers, who came from eight different countries, had varying levels of experience with cleanup efforts like the Source to Sea Cleanup. Alexa Fontanilla, 20, of the Philippines, said the Connecticut River is much cleaner than the “murky” and often oily water of the Pasig River in her home country.

“Everybody has a stake in (the river),” Fontanilla said. “We need to take care of it.”

The Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative program (YSEALI) is based on the UMass Amherst campus and run by the UMass Civic Initiative, a business group of the Institute. YSEALI is just one of several international programs managed by the Civic Initiative each year.

Read article: Locals, visitors chip in to beautify ‘the heart of the valley’

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