City leaders and San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence called on San Francisco high school students to participate in the “Giants Sweep,” a citywide anti-litter campaign launched Friday afternoon.

Partnering with the Giants, Mayor Ed Lee and the heads of several city agencies, including the Department of Public Works, Municipal Transportation Agency and Recreation and Park Department, kicked off the effort to clean up the city at Lincoln High School in the Sunset District.

Inspired by the Giants “sweep” of the Detroit Tigers during the 2012 World Series, Lee is promoting creating a culture of clean throughout the city–before city workers have to pick up litter.

“We want to make sure everyone participates,” Lee said to a gymnasium full of students this afternoon. “So that trash is not just picked up by (DPW crews) but all of us.”

The Giant Sweep is aiming to get residents of all ages, students, visitors, merchants and others involved in sprucing up the city, as DPW director Mohammed Nuru emphasized.
“We are going to change the way San Francisco looks,” Nuru said.

The city’s “clean czar” told students that there is too much litter on streets, gum on the sidewalk, and cigarette butts and pet waste in city parks.

“It’s going to take all of us…to make San Francisco clean,” he said.

Pence, a key player in the Giants playoff run last year, referenced the mindset the Giants players took on when facing the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series last fall.

“We decided we weren’t going to play for ourselves, we were going to play for each other,” he said.

He challenged the students to channel that attitude about keeping the city vibrant.
“Let’s keep San Francisco clean and beautiful,” he said.

At the campaign kickoff, the high school students, along with a group of second-graders from Children’s Day School in San Francisco, were regaled by an original song composed by the local Beach Blanket Babylon performers and cheered on by appearances from Lou Seal, the Giants mascot.

Police and fire chiefs Greg Suhr and Joanne Hayes-White, supervisors Carmen Chu and Scott Wiener and Board of Education president Rachel Norton also attended this afternoon’s kick-off event.

The Lincoln High School cheerleading squad rallied students at the program and student council leaders seniors Kimberly Ho and Huzaifa Shahbaz stressed the importance of keeping the community clean.

Junior Susie Leung, 16, who is part of an environmental science program at Lincoln High called the “Green Academy,” said today’s launch event was effective in getting students involved.

“The community should work together to clean up,” she said.

Giant Sweep cleanup events in various neighborhoods will take place Fridays and Saturdays during baseball season in February, April, June and September.

More information about the campaign is available at

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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