Walking around campus the day after St. Patrick’s Day was disappointing. Empty alcohol containers, food wrappers and drink cups littered the streets of Michigan State’s campus and the greater East Lansing area.
MSU is one of the largest campuses in the United States with 5,239 acres of land, 556 buildings, and a football stadium that seats 75,005.
The architecture and design of the campus makes for a beautiful place to relax, hang out with friends, celebrate victories and even study. Having the ability to live on or commute to a campus so large and beautiful is a privilege, so why aren’t we taking better care of it?
With a holiday notorious for early morning intoxication and poor decision making gone by, MSU’s campus and the East Lansing area show the impact carelessness can have on an area.
It isn’t just the ghost of the green holiday making its mark on campus. In the fall, during football season, the fields and streets are left a mess. Tailgaters leave their beer cans, snack wrappers and lawn chairs thrown carelessly aside. Residents do not look after the inside of residence halls, but leave them for facilities staff to handle the next morning. Dining halls are disturbed with napkins, beverages and food waste spilled on the floor and tables.
It is unfortunate to walk into a bathroom in the morning and find waste left on the toilet seat. It is even more unfortunate to find other bodily substances stuck in the sink and half a shot of alcohol spilled across the counter, shot glass and green beads forgotten on the corner. While I think celebrating holidays and sporting events should be encouraged, especially considering challenging academics, I also believe there should be more responsibility and concern expected out of college-aged young adults.
Across social media platforms, users advocate for taking care of the environment and advise others to be cautious of energy and other natural substances they use or even consume. Many people have shown paramount care for the environment in the last few weeks. Even MSU’s own student body organized a strike in protest of the university’s disregard for climate change.
While these are good plans, I expect for more students to be aware of their actions. We need to work on picking up after ourselves and not leaving trash on MSU’s campus. There should be no litter in the Red Cedar River or on the fields or on the streets of East Lansing. We can take the time to properly dispose of our garbage and recyclables, even on holidays set aside for drinking.
MSU’s campus has been around for a long time, 164 years to be exact. It has the capability to stay for at least another 164 years as long as we treat our environment with care and respect.
All it takes is one person being conscious of their actions. Change does begin with one person. A chain reaction will naturally become prevalent. By reminding friends and family members to be mindful of where they put their garbage or telling them to hold onto it until they can throw it away, there is opportunity for change.