Student Plogging Project Raises Funds, Mental Health Awareness

Two women, one in a red mask and another in a blue mask and baseball cap, hold up a trash bag

Classmates Raeanne Heuler, Beth King and Samson Love have revived plogging at Pitt as part of their work in Geology and Environmental Science instructor Ward Allebach’s sustainability course this spring. 

Plogging is a combination of running or walking while picking up trash along the way.

The trio’s team project, Plogging for Health, focused on cleaning up the campus while improving mental health awareness and support through fitness activities.

They formed a club on the running/cycling app Strava to build community and help participants train, then hosted a benefit 5K Walk/Run in April, which they hope to make an annual event. 

The virtual event attracted 70 participants, who walked or ran in staggered start times on multiple routes. 

It raised nearly $450 to benefit Steel Smiling, a mental health nonprofit that specifically gives care and support to the Black community in Pittsburgh. The team also is donating an additional $500 received through a grant from Unpack U, a mental health organization that supports college students across Allegheny County. 

The Strava club, now 28 strong, welcomes new members