Students need to keep campus clean

With new students visiting every day for orientation in the upcoming weeks, the class of 2013 is forming their first impressions of the University.

These impressions include the Quad, Green Street, Foellinger Auditorium, and, unfortunately, the trash that lines the streets in the heart of campus.

As students who have walked these streets many times, it’s easy for us to become indifferent to the cans, plastic bags and bottles, fast food wrappers, pizza boxes, newspapers and cigarette butts.

Disposable items aren’t the only problem: every year, students abandon perfectly functional couches, TV sets, and bookshelves before they leave for the summer.

Students and other residents have many opportunities to responsibly dispose of their waste. There are green RSOs, volunteer-based campus clean-ups, recycling programs through Facilities and Services and many locations in Champaign that accept recyclable goods.

But the truth is, not enough of campus takes advantage of them.

Our trash problem is far from unique. An article in last week’s Time Magazine spotlighted the issue of disposing of appliances, furniture and electronics left behind by departing students. At George Washington University, a Dump and Run program collected over 53,000 pounds of goods this year.

The University YMCA offers a similar Dump and Run program, collecting unwanted items for resale from the end of the spring semester until August.

Goodwill and Salvation Army also welcome donations of furniture and electronics, and the Center for Women in Transition encourages donations of gently used clothes and unopened toiletries.

Keeping the campus clean is our responsibility. We’ve all been lectured on the importance of properly disposing of trash, but judging from the appearance of campus, the lessons haven’t stuck.

Littering is a vicious cycle — the worse the campus looks, the less people bother to keep it clean.

With the influx of current students returning to campus for the second summer session next week and freshmen-to-be arriving on campus for the first time, now is a more important time than any to keep our campus clean.

The condition of our campus reflects on us, and we’re constantly being judged by those who pass through it.

Taking care of our campus takes effort on our part, but we will be the ones to reap the rewards.