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NewSchool to hold Day of Service event at San Diego River Park

On Arbor Day, the NewSchool of Architecture and Design will hold its inaugural Day of Service event with a beautification and preservation field trip at the San Diego River Park in Mission Valley.

In collaboration with the San Diego River Park Foundation, students from NewSchool will be doing landscape work, creating a walking trail and clearing weeds on April 27.

“NewSchool of Architecture and Design has emphasized environmental sustainability in its curriculum for many years, and so our decision to focus on the San Diego River for our Day of Service is a natural fit,” said NSAD President Steve Altman.

During the daylong volunteering event, approximately 300 NewSchool students and staff will work on three sections of the San Diego River Park between Interstate 8 and Friars Road and east of Pacific Highway.

The first group will do landscaping work, removing non-native vegetation, and will install 400 native plants, mulch and decomposed granite on the west side of the Mission Valley Preserve.

The second area will involve constructing a dedicated nature loop trail that will guide people to views of the San Diego River. This section will require clearing and disposal of vegetation along the trail course, leveling trail terrain and placing stone trail liners.

A third group of volunteers will clear the eastern entrance of the Mission Valley Preserve of any vegetation in order to install a mural.

NewSchool is providing the funding for materials to complete the beautification and preservation efforts.

The goal of this Day of Service event is to help support San Diego River Park Foundation's mission of restoring the river to a healthy waterway and creating a system of adjacent parks and open spaces.

Allen Ghaida, a senior at NewSchool who is graduating in the spring with a bachelor's degree in architecture, said he is volunteering so he can become more socially engaged in the community.

“This is a great stepping stone for life scenarios,” Ghaida said. “I want to get into this industry by doing more and generating public interest. In my career, I would like to work for a firm that does civic work and does middle to large scale projects.”

The idea for this beautification event came from students and staff at NewSchool late last year.

The event reflects the school’s commitment to integrating sustainability and environmental issues through academic programs and community outreach projects.

“As sustainability is one of our foundational pillars, expanding ways to contribute to the natural environment is attractive for our students and faculty,” Altman added.

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