Celebrity Visits Inspire Students at Clean-Up

By Pam Robinson

Feb 16, 2009 1:40pm

ABC News On Campus reporter Cate Smithson blogs: Sunday morning at Rosewood Park in Austin, Texas, had all the makings for an anything but laid-back end to the weekend: hard work, sweat and a celebrity appearance by the surprisingly fully dressed Matthew McConaughey. The park cleanup ended the Clinton Global Initiative University meeting, a three-day-long event for students the world over to discuss various global issues and their proposed solutions. On Sunday morning, when volunteers from as near as the University of Texas and as far away as Haiti pushed up their sleeves for some physical labor, they were met with a thumbs-up from former President Clinton. “I was really excited,” said Kate Hull, a UT junior who works with the Human Rights Student Advisory Council. She picked up trash at Boggy Creek Sunday morning. “It’s so inspirational to hear him be so optimistic about our generation in particular.” The visits from Clinton and McConaughey, plus a free pair of TOMS shoes, helped to keep volunteers working hard all morning. Joel Paulino and Jesus Miguel Munoz, two students from a program called Funglode in the Dominican Republic, paused from picking up leaves and cleaning a fence for a photo-op with Clinton. “He came up to us,” Paulino said. “It was cool that he and Matt [McConaughey] actually wanted to talk to us.” In a speech Clinton made at the cleanup, he praised Austin for having the ecological initiatives the country strives for and the youth to make a difference. “It’s amazing that he’d come here,” Hull said. “He talked about fighting AIDS in Malaysia and still he takes time to come work with us in Austin.”

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