Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity:
Keeping the 'Hood clean
By Jonathan Gramling
When the My Eta Lambda chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was looking to do a community service project in addition to the programs
proscribed by the national organization, Joshua Cotillier had just the right project in mind. As an undergrad at UW-Whitewater, the Alpha chapter
there did a highway clean-up project. With an environmental health and safety background, Cotillier knows how important it is to keep living
environments clean and so he suggested that the Alphas adopt the Hwy. 14 stretch that leads out of South Madison and goes to Oregon.
On July 23, the Alphas made their second of three annual forays on the highway, filling large plastic bags as they walked down the one-mile stretch
of Hwy. 14 to McCoy Road.
“Mostly we find beer bottles and liquor bottles and fast food bags,” Cotillier said. “Occasionally we find adult type items and undergarments. We’ve
found those before. I haven’t been fortunate enough to find anyone’s wallet or money or anything like that. It’s just stuff that they discard coming in
or leaving town. We get a lot of trash with this being one of the last roads coming from the Oregon area into and out of the city, especially on the
other side of the road. People are throwing things away coming into the city, especially with the liquor bottles, unfortunately. It must be people who
are concerned with OWIs. Over on this side, they are leaving a lot of fast food bags, cups and containers they get from the fast food restaurants. We’
re here on Highway 14 with just a mile of length from the Beltline Hwy. to McCoy Road.”
A lot of trash gets tossed out on the side of the road, even in these environmentally-conscious times. “How many bags we pick up depends on the
time of year,” Cotillier said. “With our first highway clean-up of the year, we will easily have 15 bags on each side. As you go through the year, it
might be a little bit more or a little bit less. I think we’ve done up to 20 before when we first took the highway over because no one had done this for
several years on this particular stretch of road.”
While the clean-up project is important to set a clean image of South Madison as people enter the metropolitan area from the south, Cotillier also
emphasized that the members of My Eta Lambda and members of the broader community need to be environmentally conscious. “It’s absolutely
important to be concerned about our environment,” Cotillier emphasized.
And as they pick-up the one-mile stretch in about an hour, it gives the members a chance to catch up with each other.
“We’re always laughing, chatting and being brotherly and seeing how each other is doing,” Cotillier said. “We’re talking constantly, so the time goes
Good company and good exercise is a fine way to start out a summer weekend while helping with a good cause.
Alpha Phi Alpha members Derek Johnson (l-r), Bobby
Moore, Brian Woodland, Tim Wise and Joshua Cotillier
at their Adopt-A-Highway sign on Hwy. 14