A can of Pepsi that was thrown into a bush on campus stayed there for three days, despite the daily campus cleanup. A plastic bottle that was placed in front of Saint Peter’s Hall remained there for two days.
Recently, there has been a lot of litter spotted on campus. Despite the resources available at Saint Peter’s, like the multiple trash receptacles installed by Campus Facilities, students still choose to litter.
Around campus, even where there are trash bins nearby, litter surrounds the area. From candy wrappers to entire bags of chips and plastic bottles, students appear to be dropping garbage as they walk.
Anna DePaula, Director of Facilities and Campus Services, says litter is not a common complaint at Saint Peter’s.
“Our outside porter makes his daily rounds. We have minimal to no complaints on litter. On occasion we may receive a call about litter, which is mostly from activity from our neighbors,” said DePaula.
DePaula said campus facilities workers go around to keep the campus clean, and a contractor comes in weekly to remove trash from the grounds as well, but some litter tends to be overlooked.
A big part of Saint Peter’s Jesuit mission is sustainability and respect for the environment, but with students continuing to litter and workers not picking up all of it, it can become difficult for the campus to practice good environmentalism.
Yasmeen Pauling, president of the Students for Peace and Justice, said students aren’t to blame.
“I think that students may not even realize just how much waste they produce on a daily basis. Sometimes I don't even realize it, but I wouldn't say that students don't care,” said Pauling. “I think there's so much stress and pressure on students right now.”
According to Pauling, there are many issues that students have to focus on such as the climate change crisis, affordable housing, food insecurity and tuition increase. She said that it can be hard for students to focus on how much waste they produce. She described littering as a bigger issue than just students.
“I think students can get more involved by just simply trying to produce less waste and just be a tad more conscious about the waste they produce,” said Pauling. “It's also hard because then that's putting pressure on the individual when littering and the climate crisis in general is a systematic thing.”
Shanya Michel, a junior, said littering can be prevented by students throwing away their trash as soon they’re done with it.
“It makes the campus look dirty,” said Michel.
However, there are many ways students can advocate for keeping the campus clean. Pauling mentioned a club on campus that SPJ collaborates with for some events called SAVE, an on-campus group that is focused on environmentalism activism.
Between SPJ and SAVE, there are many events that students can choose to be a part of, that not only advocates for campus cleanliness, but many other issues surrounding the planet as well.
But according to Pauling, students are not the only ones who can make a difference and become actively involved in positive environmentalism.
“I think the school itself could do a better job as well. Instead of investing $10 million into a business school that already exists, they can distribute that money to shift to a much more environmentally friendly campus,” said Pauling.