Recently I got a study room upstairs at the Kelvin Smith Library with a friend. After walking into the room, I was surprised at how dirty it was. There were empty pop and juice bottles on the ground and granola bar wrappers and empty chip bags flowing out of the very full trash can. The table had a broken pen on it and pencil shavings spread across it. Technically the room should have been cleaned by this time since the signs in every study room say that rooms will be cleaned out every night. However I do not understand how the room got so bad in the first place.
If the garbage can was already full, it would have been easier to hold onto the trash and throw it away in a trashcan on the way out of the library, instead of leaving it spread across the room for someone else to clean up. I have noticed the same type of litter in other public places on campus, such as bathrooms with paper towels flowing out of the trash and onto the ground, where people seem to take the housekeeping staff for granted. We are all technically adults here at Case Western Reserve University and are responsible enough to at least properly dispose of our own trash instead of solely relying on cleaning staff. Not only is it inconsiderate to them, it is also rude to other people that want to use these public spaces.
It is easy to forget that we are responsible adults while in the bubble of college. However simple things like being considerate with your trash make all the difference when preparing for adult life after college. There won’t be a janitor or cleaning person that will pick up the extra trash and wipe off tables when you are living alone. It is also just the polite thing to do. The cleaning staff on campus should not have to deal with so much built-up trash when there are plenty of trash receptacles in buildings and across campus. Instead of letting trash pile up and leaving it everywhere, just walk it to the closest trash can.
Small actions like picking up your trash, especially in public and shared areas on campus, make these places nicer for everyone. It is not a difficult thing to do, especially since we are not children and should not have to rely on a cleaning staff. Picking up the garbage and keeping places clean is a basic adult skill that everyone will one day have to deal with if they do not have to take out their trash already.
Even though CWRU might not teach the everyday skills of adult life such as getting a mortgage or a car lease, it should not have to teach responsible adults how to keep public spaces neat and to pick up their trash. Not only is it something that is pretty easy, it will also just make public places look nicer for everyone and show an appreciation for the cleaning staff here.
Abby Assmus is a senior English and History major.