Quit being trashy

By Kevin Karn


The SLP stands alone, lit up by surrounding spotlights that showcase its signature Spanish architecture. Within its four stories are centers for aspects of student life that range from creativity to diversity and of course dining. It is undoubtedly a beautiful place filled with amazing people.

Yet as I begin to reach the lower level of outdoor seating, I am not overtaken with the enchanting ambiance or energized by a sea of engaged students. There are no students here. Dinner is over. The only thing I see is a lone custodial worker, with a rolling black cart, picking up leftover dishes from dinner. She picks up three cups from one table and walks them 10 feet to the right to the trash bin. She then returns to that same table to collect the four plates which are covered in cement-like food that will be difficult to clean. Scraping all that she can into the trash bin, she walks back to the cart and neatly stacks the leftover dishes. One table is officially clean. Twenty more to go.

When a plate is left on a table or a bottle is thrown on the ground, it is adding unnecessary work that does not fall under the custodian’s job description. For comparison, if one worked in an office and was told to file papers, it might take a while.

However, if every person at the office decided to shred their papers before they were filed, then that person’s job turns into not only filing the papers, but also putting the shredded pieces back together. This transforms a relatively easy task into a much longer and more difficult one.

I have heard all of the excuses:
“I need to rush to class.”
“It’s too far to walk back to the kitchen.”
“I pay enough money for them to clean up my stuff.”

First of all, nowhere in the breakdown of student fees does it have a spot for “cleaning up after student.” That eliminates the money excuse. As for having enough time to get to class or return plates, I recently timed the walk from the area to put away dishes to the furthest outdoor seating area on the first level. Moving at an exaggeratedly slow pace, it took 57.55 seconds to walk that distance. Seeing as that was the farthest possible table, the average time is likely closer to 30 seconds which begs the question, “What does one have to do that can not wait 30 seconds?”
The answer is nothing. USD has trash cans and recycling bins around every corner. Let us all channel our inner grade school selves and clean up after ourselves.