Gameday trash

Gameday trash litters the Parade Ground Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 after LSU played South Carolina at Tiger Stadium.

Tailgating brings students and adult fans alike together and gives them a way to participate in football gameday festivities before the game itself starts. Unfortunately, it leaves the University’s campus looking like a junkyard.

Take a look around campus any Sunday following a football game and you’ll find a dreadful display. The areas around the UREC, LSU lakes and Greek houses are particularly inundated with trash, but the rest of campus also boasts an impressive collection of beer cans and hamburger wrappers.

Like most places, Louisiana considers littering a criminal offense. Current laws demand a $175 fine for negligent littering and a $250 fine for intentional littering. Larger amounts of litter incur larger fines, and all offenses trigger an eight-hour litter abatement program.

It’s unfortunate to see, however, these rules don’t seem to apply on gameday. It’s difficult to manage, no one’s going to deny it. But, we can’t ignore rules just because they’re hard to enforce. Otherwise, what’s the point of having those rules in the first place?

If the goal is to protect the environment, we shouldn’t abandon these rules when we need them the most. However, if the environment’s safety isn’t enough to move you, consider the economic ramifications.

In Louisiana, litter takes up $40 million in taxpayer money each year. No one likes taxes — we’d all much prefer to spend our money the way we’d like. Even if you’re not getting caught and fined for littering, you’re still paying the price for other people littering. In the interest of fairness, we all ought to do our part to prevent litter buildup.

As bad as post-gameday gets, the campus isn’t perfect any other day of the week, either. Take a walk around the popular areas on campus and you’ll often find a campus you wouldn’t be proud to show off.

The trash problem is a veritable shame, as our campus is generally aesthetically pleasing and makes for a pleasant stroll. However, a critical eye reveals mounds of earth-killing trash, ruining the experience.

It’s not all about your own experience, either. When examining the big picture, we find it’s about the presentation. The University is a public institution, and the flagship university for our state.

In many ways, the University is representative of us as denizens of Louisiana, and especially, as students. On a personal level, we should strive to be represented better. Luckily, a higher status is within our reach.

Likewise, we become representatives of the University. We should want to make our community look better, even if it’s solely for our own representation.

A campus can’t be cleaned overnight, and it certainly can’t be assured unless we all do our part. Gameday gets messy and normal school life runs at a breakneck pace, but it only takes a little effort to maintain where we put our trash. Together, we can make our campus a cleaner place to be proud of.

Kyle Richoux is a 20-year-old sociology junior from LaPlace, Louisiana.

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