I am hot. Additionally, I am bothered.
It’s a 15-minute walk from Grounds to my apartment, and I typically love the stroll. It’s a prime opportunity to get in some light exercise, bump some tasteful Nelly and fantasize about running into a young Jon Hamm on my way down 14th. There is, however, one facet of the trek that really gets my knickers — or rather, two-for-one Xhilaration boyshorts — in a twist.
There are red solo cups everywhere.
Empty Keystone Lite cans. Everywhere.
The abandoned plastic remnants of parties past. Everywhere.
“Litterers are quitterers.” Those are the words of my third grade crush and he was right. (For clarification, he was only right in this capacity, not in his 2004 rejection of my love. We could’ve had something special, George. How dare you.) To second his original contention, however, there’s just no justification for the trash littering of off-Grounds student housing areas.
Fraternity houses stand out as a major culprit here. However, they’re not the only guilty party in the neighborhood. Now, don’t fret Chad, Zac and Chet — you can go ahead and have your parties. Bump your G-Eazy, reserve your Saturdays for “the boys” and keep the cheap domestic beer flowing. I’m not coming after your parties right now. For the time being, I’m only calling you out for your grody lawns.
How much time and effort does it really take it pick up those plastic rings that go around a six pack? A little recycling never killed anybody. You’ve got nothing to lose by showing your lawn some love once in a blue moon. Even if you consider yourself free of any culpability here, it’s our collective responsibility to prevent and pick up litter while encouraging others to do so as well. Picking up trash is easy as can be and if you don’t know how, I’d recommend practicing that skill via Tinder.
Setting aside the environmental toll of this littering, we can all agree wrecking the space around Grounds sends a negative message to the greater Charlottesville community about what University students contribute to the area at large, if only at a surface level. We’re college students, yes, but that shouldn’t justify degrading the environmental conditions for the other people who live in Charlottesville. Picking up your trash is a puny first step to giving back to this community, but it’s a start.
It’s the tragedy of the commons. We all do a little littering and bit by bit, a little carelessness compounds into something greater. Whether you’re single-handedly keeping the solo cup industry in business with your weekly bangers or just dropping your wrappers every now and again, we’re all responsible for cleaning up our own messes.
At this moment, I’ll call on the words of another great man — “Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.” That man was Barney the Purple Dinosaur. Heed those hallowed words and do the right thing — clean up your junk. Nobody else is going to do it for you.
In closing, if my roommates are reading this, hey guys — I know those pots have been in the sink since the weekend, but I’ll take care of them after fall finals, when things calm down.