UTPD and Longhorn Center for Community Engagement partner up to host West Campus graffiti cleanup

Tehreem Shahab

The UT-Austin Police Department, the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement and more than one hundred participants will work to clean off West Campus’ graffiti this upcoming weekend.

Anabella Tarango, student engagement programs coordinator for the LCCE said volunteers will be provided with supplies to pick up trash and paint over or wipe out graffiti in West Campus, mainly near Guadalupe Street.

Tarango said the cleanup, which will take place Saturday, is an opportunity for students to get more involved in the West Campus community. 

“Here at UT, our motto is ‘What starts here changes the world,’” Tarango said. “And I think students here are always wanting to give back in any way possible, and there are always many opportunities to give back, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities to give back to the communities close by — and I think many students would consider West Campus as their community — so this (cleanup) is a rare chance.” 

UTPD sergeant Michael Murphy said out of the regular Austin graffiti cleanup events, none of them take place in West Campus. Murphy said after meeting Amory Baril, director of the student engagement programs at LCCE, UTPD and LCCE began to collaborate on the idea of a West Campus cleanup. 

“We receive periodic community concerns about graffiti,” Murphy said. “The city has very limited resources to clean it, and I don’t like to leave a problem alone, so I started to look for ways that I could somehow facilitate a cleanup … and after meeting Amory, we figured out we were sort of marching towards the same goals so we started to work together.” 

The charge for graffiti can go from a Class C misdemeanor all the way up to a felony, depending on the type of graffiti and the damage it does, Murphy said. 

SafeHorns, an organization that advocates for improving safety and security conditions on campus, has advertised the cleanup on social media. SafeHorns Vice President Joell McNew said she is impressed by the number of people who have signed up to attend the cleanup. 

“It sends such a positive message that students really do have the power to live out the mantra that UT posts everywhere,” McNew said. “Students are showing that by showing up on a Saturday to cleanup, and I think
it’s amazing.”