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‘Pick It Up’ for a Cleaner, Greener, More Beautiful UK

Video produced by Hive, College of Arts & Sciences Creative and Technical Services

by Keith Hautala

(Sept. 15, 2014) — The University of Kentucky is launching the “Pick it Up” campaign this week, urging participation from the entire UK community to help make our campus litter-free. The program was developed by a group of campus partners and is funded by the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration.

"The University of Kentucky has one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the nation," said Eric N. Monday, executive vice president for Finance and Administration. "We hope that Pick it Up will not only help us to preserve the natural beauty of our campus, but also encourage everyone to take a personal role in eliminating litter."

The premise of the campaign, outlined in the video above, is simple enough: If you see litter on campus, pick it up. No matter who you are, you can help make a difference. Most litter is recyclable and should be deposited into one of the new single-stream recycling containers distributed across campus.

UK community members who are caught "blue-handed," committing an act of campus beautification, will be eligible for special prizes, such as T-shirts or gift cards. Organizers say it is a fun way to promote awareness of the campaign and encourage participation. If you catch someone Picking It Up, and selfies are welcome, you are encouraged to report them by emailing

Also starting this week, members of the campus community are urged to keep their eyes open for a very special visitor.

“He’s a much older guy, with a long, white beard,” said UK Recycling Coordinator Mari Long. “If you see him, he’s typically wearing UK blue. Oh, and he’s about a foot tall.”

His name is Gnarly the Gnome, and he is the official mascot of the Pick It Up campaign. (If you watch closely enough, you might be able spot him a few times in the video above.) If you see Gnarly on campus, that means Gnarly can see you too. And if Gnarly spots you picking up litter in his vicinity, cool prizes are headed your way.

“Gnarly’s a pretty cool dude,” said UK Sustainability Coordinator Shane Tedder. “But if there’s one thing he can’t abide, it’s a trashy campus. I hope everybody will help make him feel welcome here by picking up litter, not just when Gnarly is around, but wherever they see it on campus.”

Campus community members are encouraged to help promote the campaign by using the #PickItUpUK hashtag in social media. Gnome sightings may be reported with the tag #GetGnarlyUK.

For more information about the Pick it Up campaign, click here