These last few days, especially over the holiday weekend, the weather has been wonderful. The sun has been out to warm everything up, but the wind sweeps through to cool you off.
There are spots of green starting to sprout, showing the first signs of life in the last few months, and of course the birds are out and about, singing their tune.
However, spring has also revealed a bit more than I was looking forward too.
Now that the snow has receded for the year, and people are able to leave the confines of their homes, we’re faced with the beauty that comes with spring intertwined with hideousness of littered roads and sidewalks. There are immense collections of plastic bottles and bags, miscellaneous trinkets or broken headphones or gadgets lying about campus–and the St. Cloud community, while I’m at it–taking place in the picturesque frame that is the changing of seasons.
There was a fall semester clean up put on by the SCSU Sports and Recreation Department and Outdoor Endeavors. They managed to collect over 500 pounds of garbage, among other trashy things, from the riverbanks alone. During that single effort, there was little attention focused on the campus itself.
It would seem that another clean up is in order, given that wrappers or plastic bags are dancing across campus’ courtyard like a tumbleweed in the desert.
From there, it winds up stuck on bushes or wraps itself into the land, lying there, waiting and waiting until ends up it either breaking down into earth, in the hands of volunteers, or employees who throw that piece of waste into a larger plastic bag, and ship it off to a landfill.
I do my best to pin down the running plastic bags or other such garbage that passes me by while I’m heading to and from classes, but there’s simply too much for one person to clean up, and manage to make it to class on time.
As a campus community, we should be preserving SCSU, not trashing it. It is our campus, it is our community, and it is ours to take responsibility for. We have the luxury that many schools don’t have, access to the pristine Mississippi River scenery. The clutter of waste flowing throughout our campus community takes away from the true beauty our campus has to offer.
I won’t speak for the rest of the students, faculty and staff here, but as for myself, the garbage around campus is piling up, and it doesn’t deserve a place under the shining, springtime sun.
This article originally appeared in the University Chronicle on April 5, 2015.