By Brittany Rosso
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- How many times in one week do you find yourself stepping on beer cans, chip and candy wrappers, empty cigarette cartons, fast food packaging or other garbage in the O’Shea lot? I sure cannot validate a reason or come to gather myself as to why this is a weekly occurrence for me.
As I stepped outside on the beautiful afternoon of Jan. 25, to unfortunately gather photographic evidence of this terrible occurrence on campus, I was confronted with two McDonalds fry-packages and a crushed Blue Light Lime can after just six minutes, only four rows into the O’Shea lot. During my walk through the lot, I watched students walk past me and stare, probably wondering “What on earth is this crazy girl doing with a camera and trash in her hand?” I weaved in and out of cars, glancing under every few. By the time I got to the last row of the lot, I had photos of over 15 pieces of trash. I had found everything from a Taco Bell sauce packet, to a pair of socks, a few pens and pencils and even an air freshener.
My fingers were beginning to tremble as I grasped the camera in my hand. Not because this is Niagara Falls and it was 17 degrees out, but because anger was beginning to erupt within me as I continued to see garbage left and right, while I struggled to carry all the trash that I possibly could between my frozen, numb fingers. I mean, I had begun to feel regretful that I didn’t have a bag or more time to spend trash picking. “People actually think what they’re doing is okay?!” I wanted to shout. As I continued my way back towards my dorm I began to think, “I gathered all this trash in only a brisk 20 minute walk through the lot. How many people had saw the same pieces of garbage before I had, and just walked past it?” I wondered. “What if I had left it, and returned tomorrow, or the next day? I’m sure it’d be lying in the same exact place.” I let out a sigh.
Let me remind you, this was just an ordinary Thursday afternoon. If you really feel like checking out the trash arrangement scattered across the resident lot, I urge you to take a walk through on a Friday morning; the “thirsty Thursday” aftermath will never fail to impress you.
The O’Shea lot is shared by both commuting students, residents, and faculty. You may notice however, the trash is much more heavily located on the student parking side of the lot. There’s tons! Something for everyone. I know, sometimes the scene of mud splashed everywhere, soggy snow and rain puddles mixed with the stench of landfill and a hint of toxic waste is not all that pleasant. I too would love to see some color in the campus environment, but I promise, your Smirnoff Bottles and Natty Ice cans do not do the job.
When I think back to my time at Niagara, a memory that I definitely don’t want to come to mind is prying a frozen Wendy’s cup off the trunk of my car (yes, this actually happened), or peeling a soggy, flattened McDonald’s fry package, or sauce container off the bottom of my shoe. I want to hear leaves blowing in the wind, and the gravel crunching beneath my feet, not the sound of your Tim Hortons cup and Blue Light can grazing the pavement. Is this the kind of campus we want our visitors to see? Is this something you’re proud of?
Above all the things that Niagara University students do well, I must say, taking care of the school parking lots is by all means not one of them. I just can’t seem to understand what is so fulfilling about being ignorant towards your community, school, and the environment by encrusting your trash into the parking lots. Hopefully we won’t have to ponder this question much longer. This issue must be confronted. It is something that should no longer be ignored and avoided. How can we prevent this issue from occurring in the future? Maybe we should look to the inclusion of parking lot trash cans, or perhaps more simply; put your trash where it belongs instead of selfishly trashing the campus.