By Mikayla Mangle
Gloves and garbage bags in hand, students make Winthrop’s campus cleaner.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, Winthrop sustainability director Chris Johnson organized a campus litter pickup. There was a large turnout of students on Saturday morning eager to pick up litter around campus. Many of the students were pleased to see such a large number of students due to previous experiences when only two students had showed up to help with the litter pickup.
The litter pickup began around 9 a.m. and lasted until almost 11 a.m. In these two hours the group of students split up into teams and were each assigned a certain area on campus to pick up. The amount of litter varied in each area.
According to many of the participants at the litter pickup, cigarettes were by far the most collected item, especially around the campus “smoking tree.” Many of the students voiced their anger at the fact that people still choose to throw their cigarette butts on the ground near the smoking tree when there are two trash cans located right next to the tree.
Frida Neverdal, a student at the litter pickup, said, “[Winthrop] could advertise more for the consequences of littering. It is about changing the norms of the people who go here. We could even take it as far as having a mandatory seminar about littering or environmental issues on campus.”
According to a number of the students, many shocking items were found discarded around campus. These included items that should have been properly disposed of in a trash can, used again or given away.
Allyssa Calderhead, another student present, said there were “personal effects such as shoes, socks, baking dishes and items that people just didn’t consider donating before leaving behind.”
Calderhead said that she saw a lot of food packaging as well. She believes that trash cans and recycling bins should be placed strategically around campus.
Calderhead said, “It is not about the amount of waste bins; It’s about where people are communing and require this need.”
Many of the students present at the litter pickup showed great passion and enthusiasm about the environment. Many believed that simply picking up trash around campus can have an immense effect on the well-being of the environment.
Neverdal said, “Picking up litter on campus helps to keep the environment clean, helps so that the wildlife won’t eat it or use it for nesting.”
Many of the students voiced concern about how the trash will hurt the surrounding wildlife on campus, particularly the bird community. Birds are known to pick up cigarettes and put them in their nests. The toxins in the cigarettes can have a fatal outcome for the birds and their babies.
Calderhead said, “Animals are finding this trash and using it for nests or eating it. By picking [trash] up, we are limiting the fatalities that may occur in the bird population, especially in their nests. Additionally, we are preventing rodents, such as mice and raccoons, from infiltrating the area in their search for a sweet treat.”
Overall, the main goal of the campus litter pickup was to make the campus more sustainable and environmentally safe. Each group of students at the litter pickup was able to fill up a trash bag and properly dispose of it at the end of the event. All the students seemed pleased with their work and felt as though they had made a difference on campus. The student participants strongly urge fellow students to always properly dispose of trash because even the smallest piece of garbage can have an effect on Winthrop’s biodiversity.