The state of Pennsylvania has clear laws regarding the issue of littering. You see the signs on highways and in public places: No littering, or else be fined X amount of dollars. It would seem that the law would be adapted to every area of public space.
Wilkes University has not been granted such laws. Why? Wilkes is not a “public place”. Many students and faculty call Wilkes “home” more than anything. So why is it then that food is continually seen strewn across the campus grounds? I thought Wilkes was our home.
You see the foodstuffs everyday: An iced muffin thrown down the stairs of the student union building, an old banana, or piece of pizza, thrown on the floor in an elevator, an ice cream cone dropped onto a sidewalk by the greenway.
Why does this happen? If you drop something by mistake, pick it up and find a garbage can. If you are full or do not want the food you procured from the Henry Student Center, do the same thing.
Wilkes University is not a giant garbage can for your food. We have a multitude of individual garbage cans that dot the common areas around the school, just for you.
Food waste negatively impacts our university. The Sodexo staff in the HSC cafeteria is forced to police students who try to take food for the road. We students cannot be trusted with extra food because of the risk that we will dump it somewhere on campus.
Perhaps students don’t allow themselves time to think before they improperly dispose of their excess food. Allow me to put it into perspective: I don’t want to have to see an old apple or some other piece of food thrown in an elevator. But I adopt the mentality of the rest of my peers: “Why should I pick up someone else’s food? Not my problem,” I say.
Recently, as I exited the elevator, I felt guilty that I had not cleaned up the food. I felt like whomever left the food was an animal, a “pig”. Clearly, this cannot be the case. What if they dropped it by mistake?
So I decided to clean up the food. As I used paper towels to clean up the mess of pizza and dessert left in the HSC elevator, I received dirty looks from other students heading up to the café.
Do these students care what visiting students think of our school? I can just hear the concerned moms following their sons and daughters around on visitation: “it’s a pigsty!”
In addition, I do not want to make our maintenance department work any harder. But I also don’t want to clean up other people’s messes.
I want our school to have a clean environment. It is not too much to ask for.
When you see a mess of food on the ground, clean it up. I know it’s not your job, but help make the school a cleaner place. Either that, or don’t put it there in the first place.