by Taline Norsigian ’19
Orange goo spreads on the pavement as soles sink into the melted popsicle liquid. Upper School Science Department Chair Frederick Goodman leans over and fishes for the popsicle stick, being a good samaritan and cleaning up after someone else’s icky mess.
Out in the main parking lot, Director of Facilities Larry Marciano collects bags of restaurant food that students shoved next to their car doors instead of throwing away.
What represents KO? Maybe the students, teachers, buildings, programs, and trips come to mind, yet no one recalls the increasing amount of trash around campus that clutters KO’s beauty.
Mr. Goodman and senior Green Team leader Mckenzie Piehl both said they noticed more litter recently. “We have trash everywhere,” Mr. Marciano said. “There’s time where there’s so much trash in the parking lot it’s almost embarrassing.”
Faculty Advisor for the Green Team Lisa Bailey said she believes the problem stems from a handful of students that are not concerned with the consequences of their actions.
Mr. Goodman agreed. “There is a laziness and a belief that it’s someone else’s job to clean up,” he said. Every day students walk past candy wrappers, plastic bottles, food scraps, and take out food containers left in the parking lot, corners of buildings, stairways, and tables in the lunchroom.
Mr. Marciano said that food invites the animals, and the Buildings and Grounds crew deals with possum problems from time to time. Their team of five also spends three to four hours picking up trash each week, heading out each morning and every afternoon.
The consequences of littering are severe, as this problem does not only affect the Building and Grounds gang.
“What impression of the school do prospective students and parents get when they see litter all over campus?” Mr. Goodman questioned. “Whose right is it to make the cleaning services jobs harder by just assuming it is someone else’s job to pick up trash?”
While litter causes huge inconveniences to others, the community can strive to improve.
“I think we should just think about promoting consideration,” Mr. Goodman said.
Mrs. Bailey agreed. “I try to remind people to clean up after themselves, so they are aware that leaving behind waste is not okay,” she said. “The more we can be positive models and talk to people, the more I think the issue will be resolved.”
Mr. Marciano said students should use the receptacles and recycling bins located in and outside every building if they have trash.
Students seek to better the situation as well. Mckenzie said she believes that students need to remove food items that they bring on campus or at least dispose of them properly because students have complete control over their actions. “I think it is our responsibility to pick up after ourselves,” Mckenzie said. “It’s just the right thing to do.”
As students, we must recognize the imposing responsibilities this issue forces on the rest of the community and create strides to care beyond self.
“This student body seems to be the most conscientious about litter in my 15 years,” Mr. Marciano said. Let’s live up to that expectation KO.