Tuesday, 12 April 2022 - 9:32am

Collectively cleaning the Castle

1 min read

News article photos (3 items)

An officer carrying a bag of rubbish away as students sweep the street.
Two officers on the street during the clean up
Wide shot of Castle Street showing a police officer carrying a spade and bag of rubbish and students cleaning up in the distance

​Students might not be able to tidy their rooms, but with a little bit of help and a great cause, they can clean an entire street.

The Sophia Charter began in 2020 with the goal of continually improving University of Otago student safety and well-being following the tragic death of Sophia Crestani at a student flat party in 2019. Following the tragedy, Police joined Sophia’s family and a number of other stakeholders in signing the Sophia Charter and continue to work hard with our partners in delivering on its shared goals.

At the launch of the charter, one of Sophia’s closest friends said, “the purpose of The Charter is not to change the student culture or to stop the fun, but to work alongside students to have fun safely”.

Recently, Otago Coastal Community Policing staff took the opportunity to do exactly that, by joining a large number of student volunteers in an organised clean-up of Castle Street, in the north Dunedin student flat precinct.

Castle Street is often the location of huge student parties that result in the street being left worse-for-wear with bottles, broken glass, and all manner of rubbish piling up.

The Sophia Charter North Dunedin Clean-up saw student volunteers come together with the Sophia Charter partner organisations to pick up rubbish, and sweep the street. Sleeves were rolled up, skips were organised, brooms and shovels handed out, and rubbish trucks brought in for an afternoon of intense cleaning.

Community Relations Coordinator Constable Max Holt was on hand to help, and was pleased to see the huge student turn out.

“It’s lovely to see so many of them here, in the spirit of what it means to them, and in Sophia’s memory.”