Editorial | Keep CU beautiful
September 15, 2021
The representative stroll across campus frequently features the grand combination of pleasant people, places and nature.
Campus, decorated with delightful constructions — excluding the sporadic, brutalist architecture exhibited by the Psychology Building — and satisfying vegetation is once again a wondrous sight. Moreover, Illini are fortunate to possess a wonderful community and the opportunity to appreciate living and learning.
Presently, however, there exists an obstacle preventing full enjoyment of university moments: extensive garbage.
Polluting the typical campus musing, Illini are alarmingly littering and disrespecting their environment. Whether it be the disregarded red solo cup or the takeout that missed the trash can, trash is piling up across C-U.
One saunter throughout C-U would present to Illini the dreadful conditions of sidewalks and storm drains slammed with napkins and used utensils, and yards soiled with junk from the previous night’s shenanigans. Additionally, Greek life centered in Champaign retain littered lawns awaiting one gust of wind to commence the garbage’s journey into neighboring parks or roads.
Illini are better than this. With the current litter predicament, Illini bear personal responsibility to not only clean up after themselves but to remind others of their environmental obligations.
In the 1974 Litter Control Act, the Illinois General Assembly outlined, “No person shall dump, deposit, drop, throw, discard, leave, cause or permit the dumping, depositing, dropping, throwing, discarding or leaving of litter upon any public or private property in this State.”
If one were to peruse around campus, this law appears chilled in enforcement.
Therefore, there is only one appropriate request for this junked juncture: Keep C-U beautiful. There is no excuse to pollute the streets of our temporary home.
Justly, the 1974 act asserts in its introduction, “Litter is detrimental to the welfare of the people …” If students, faculty and community members expect to enjoy their surroundings, litter cannot enter the frame. Illini undergraduates carry the lion’s share of this responsibility.
Although, the University’s Student Code identifies littering tobacco products as a violation, cluttering campus and/or disregarding public trash is not identified as a code infringement. Likewise, with no clear consequences or enforcement, debris continues to accumulate — evidently in a cyclical fashion.
To respect campus is to maintain its beauty. Furthermore, when polluting actors such as those in Greek life or irresponsible Illini do not value campus for its cleanliness, it is only equitable for fines to be administered until the garbage is managed.
Fortunately, for Illini interested in polishing C-U, both Champaign and Urbana currently possess programs to mitigate the present mess.
For Champaign, the “Keep Champaign Beautiful” initiative aims to improve recycling, reduce littering and “engage community members” for a better Champaign. For Urbana, the “Adopt Urbana Program” focuses on “arranging litter clean-ups” to aid in providing for a pristine community.
There is a power in properly picking up after yourself. Even more so, littering is a direct expedition to polluted minds and hearts if one discounts personal responsibility. Illini are prosperous when their community resembles their dedicated ambitions.
Let us, henceforth, respect and cherish our environment and produce impeccable surroundings.