Make DePauw less trashy

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Dear fellow students,

We have a problem with trash.

To be fair, I haven’t noticed the issue as much this year as last year, but I’d like to encourage you all to nip it in the bud before it becomes an issue. Why should you care? Here’s a few ways the littering of a few have an impact on us all:

First, litter and trash have a serious impact on how our campus looks. This is important for several reasons, mainly the many alumni visits that happen all year long. I’m guessing that many of these alumni are wealthy, love DePauw, and are interested in donating to DePauw so that others may share in their experience.

If they return, however, to find beer cans littering the sidewalk and half-eaten pieces of pizza and smashed ice cream cones outside Hoover, chances are they’re less likely to be proud of their alma mater. Though it’s an egotistical formula, less alumni pride leads to fewer alumni donations, which leads to fewer scholarships for you and I.

Having a trashy campus is also not very attractive to another very important group of visitors: prospective students and their families. If they’re being distracted by trash, they’re not paying attention to the many good qualities of DePauw. DePauw’s future is riding on these bright people, so we should be doing everything we can reasonably do to attract them here.

I would even argue that it’s important to keep DePauw’s campus beautiful just for the sake of having a beautiful campus to be proud of. It can be very easy to take DePauw for granted, but we really are privileged to be at one of the prettiest schools in the state.

If none of the above reasons motivate you to put your trash where it belongs, I hope the following one will: do it for the sake of the facilities staff. Did you know that their numbers are down by approximately 33% this year, meaning they only have two-thirds of the people available to do the same amount of work? They don’t need to pick up your litter on top of that.

By the same token, I would like to make a request to the University and the Facilities Department: may we please have more trash cans? Particularly outside, I feel like someone could walk a few blocks without coming across an outdoor trash can. This is frustrating, especially to someone trying to reduce litter. It’s tricky to find a trash can in the first place, and then those are typically full or even overflowing.

Lastly, to those of you who have bothered to read this far, it’s not enough to just not litter ourselves. If you see a piece of trash that’s not terribly gross, let’s hold each other to picking it up. It doesn’t take much time or effort, and it’s an easy way to improve our campus.

If we’re honest, there will probably always be someone littering. As long as we really care about our campus, though, we should have a share in the responsibility of maintaining it. We have a beautiful home. Let’s keep it that way.