FIU students lead community service, receive thank you from police officers

FIU students led a Miami Beach clean-up during spring break.

After spending the day at Miami Beach with approximately 700 spring break revelers, FIU students decided to give back as a way of saying thanks to the city that welcomed them.

Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity volunteered to help clean up the debris on the beach. This simple act of kindness made a strong impression with community members.

“FIU students came up to me and asked what they could do to help. Nobody else did that,” says Lieutenant Octavio Rabelo from the Miami Beach Police Department. Rabelo oversaw the beach’s spring break festivities this year. “This shows that FIU students are community oriented, they understand other people’s vantage points and are keenly aware of others’ duties and responsibilities. They respect the jobs we have to do. They are the future leaders of America.”

The Miami Beach Police tweeted their appreciation of the students.

“We all united together and cleaned up after ourselves and others,” says Mike Luscar, vice president of FIU’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter and an accounting major. “We didn’t litter, we just wanted to help out and make everyone else’s job easier. That’s basically why we cleaned up. Our motto is to serve all, and we take that literally.”

One of the fraternity’s goals, Luscar says, is to develop leaders. They did that, too.

When partygoers saw FIU students take the lead to clean up the shoreline and sand, they followed suit.

“People just came up to us and volunteered themselves,” Luscar says. “It was a great experience. I met new people, made new friends. That was awesome.”

He hopes this will set a trend.

“We are part of this community,” says Jourman Triana. The FIU student exchanged information with Rabelo and asked him to reach out if the city needs additional help cleaning up the beach. “It’s our duty to give back and clean our beaches. While I was doing it, I felt a combination of humility and love. We really do believe in serving and loving everyone and doing what’s right.”

Tashaun Williams ’15, an FIU Alpha Phi Alpha who serves as a mentor to the students, found it rewarding to see the young leaders in action. “There’s a bad reputation about students during spring break: people coming, destroying the landscape and then leaving. So to see some of the younger and active members take initiative was great.”

“I am not surprised that our students jumped in,” says President Mark B. Rosenberg. “They embrace their responsibility to our community. They understand their individual opportunity to make our community a better place. I am so proud of them.”

Various news channels and media outlets across South Florida from WSVN-7 (Fox) to the Miami Beach Patch gave the Panthers a shout-out for their service.

The students have reaffirmed their commitment to helping their community and are already discussing plans for future organized beach clean-ups.