Fairfield University SantaCon partiers leave a mess; residents left to clean up Penfield Beach

A multitude of Fairfield residents were frustrated on Sunday morning after having to clean up a mess on Penfield Beach that they didn't make.

Angelica Toruno and Robyn Karashik

Dec 10, 2023, 6:07 PM

Updated 162 days ago

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A multitude of Fairfield residents were frustrated on Sunday morning after having to clean up a mess on Penfield Beach that they didn't make.
The News 12 newsroom received many phone calls about it – News 12's Angelica Toruno went to check it out.
The trash was a result of an annual holiday day-party called “SantaCon” – which was hosted by Fairfield University students. After seeing photos on social media of cans, plastic cups and other assorted waste spread across the shore, many residents decided to show up and clean up on their own. Some said they filled up around 30 garbage bags.
"It's disappointing that it happens at all," said Dave Hinkle, of Fairfield.
"It was depressing, just looking at the stuff just lying there,” said Finn Lamonica, of Fairfield. “All the bottles, the plastic, the fact that nobody actually bothered to clean up after themselves is just...horrific."
Hinkle ended up kicking off his boots and practically diving into the litter-filled water.
"Little worried about hypothermia, but when we came down here, all the garbage and the beer cans [were] in three feet or more of water,” said Hinkle. “I don't really feel like I have a choice."
College students began to show up later in the morning, but by that point most of the trash was cleaned up.
"That's why I'm here, just trying to do my part to clean-up,” said James Hunnewell, a senior at Fairfield University. “Probably got a little out of control."
Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the university Jennifer Anderson released the statement below:
"In anticipation of SantaCon, efforts made by the University in collaboration with our community partners have been on-going, and include safety measures, communication to neighboring universities, hiring additional uniformed police and security, and a thorough beach cleanup which started early this morning and will continue throughout the day."
Residents of Fairfield said that their only hope moving forward is for this to simply not happen again.
"This is the only beach we [have] here, we have to keep it nice," said Lamonica.


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