Everyone can take time from their busy day to make campus cleaner

Column by Wesley Robinson

One of the first things I thought people were taught is to clean up after themselves — apparently I had some kind of special training only a privileged few receive.

I say this because since leaving home and coming to college, I have seen more and more unnecessary messes. I expected to have to adjust to living with people with ideas of cleanliness that differed from mine, but I didn’t expect to have to deal with it in the public realm.

I used to spend a lot of time in the library late at night and early in the morning. After being there for a while, the housekeeping staff and I became friendly. They would ask how I was doing, what I was studying, that sort of thing. And naturally, I would ask them how they were and how their day was.

The conversation evolved, and as the school year progressed, the tenor of the conversation changed, and deeper into the semester we got, the more the conversation revolved around how dirty the library was.

To the naked eye, there were Kernels, empty bottles, wrappers, bags, containers, papers and any other form of conventional trash you could think of sitting around the library. But there were also the things that I didn’t see — like dirty tampons thrown on the floor, and feces smeared on the stalls — things that would occur more frequently than they should on a college campus.

If you don’t believe that, I work in UK hospital and the housekeeping staff has often mentioned the medical student lounge and the bathroom in the medical student corridor as some of the worst places to clean.

Those aren’t the only places on campus with these problems. You don’t have to go too far to see trash in places that it shouldn’t be, and usually it’s within a few feet of a trash can.

People work too hard to make our collegiate experience easy. Just imagine if we had to take out our own trash or clean our own public restrooms. Clearly that isn’t going to happen, but there should be a certain level of respect with regards to how we treat our local environment (classrooms, libraries, public restrooms, etc).

Furthermore, as people, we should have more respect for each other to make the effort necessary to do something as simple as throw away our trash.

This problem extends beyond simple littering. As I get older, another thing I see is a lack of respect for our global environment. I am not a treehugger or a hippie, but I grew up on Captain Planet, where I was told the power is ours. So it is our job to be good stewards of the environment and look to new ways to cut waste, come up with cleaner energy processes and find renewable sources of energy.

On this campus, an institute for higher education, there is very little done for recycling and sustainability. Yet, if I turn on the Real World: Hollywood, there nine strangers picked to star in an MTV reality series and live in a house that has been deemed green. The roommates rode an exercise bike to power their computer, swam in a solar-powered pool, used paperless toilets and drove a hybrid car.

Something isn’t right with this picture, to phrase things lightly.