Country Day’s campus is clearly a pleasant place. At this time of year happy music abounds, and students often find shade in quads around school.
Don’t ruin it.
As of late, Country Day’s campus has been a victim—a victim of gross negligence and plain disrespect.
Our typically idyllic quads have become derelict sites disgusting to the eye. Half-eaten meals fester on lunch tables, drinks lie forgotten under lockers and wrappers can be found in any nook or crevice.
Junior Juliette Zúñiga recognizes three “problem areas:” the freshman quad, junior quad and area surrounding the ping-pong table in the high school quad.
Zúñiga realized the scope of the problem one afternoon after school when she decided to pick up trash.
“Once I started, I couldn’t stop because there was so much of it,” Zúñiga said.
Zúñiga’s experience belies a much larger problem.
Our pristine campus, where students come to learn, has become a cesspool.
It has become commonplace to see pizza boxes and other trash scattered about.
“I see it all the time,” senior Samrath Pannu said, as he gestures to a toppled Boudin box resting on a quad table.
Surprisingly, the sites Pannu sees with the most waste are within a few steps of trash cans.
And at times, this “nonsense,” as Pannu puts it, can be seen in even more appalling places.
Recently, students had a perfect view of pizza slices draped across the roofs on campus.
Some students are already working to address the problem.
Junior Kaitlyn Dias, who is the vice-president of the Environmentalist Club, often spends flex periods cleaning up trash either left out or wrongly sorted.
“I walk through school after everyone’s left,” Dias said. “It’s absolutely disgusting.”
Dias reports that although people are receptive, often the message to pick up after yourself isn’t received.
If each person takes the effort to clean up their trash, the problem would quickly be resolved.
Freshman Arjun Kamra has also taken note of the increasing quantities of waste scattered around the tables his grade often frequents.
Accordingly, he makes the small effort to pick up the trash he leaves and encourages others to do the same.
There is a phrase likely familiar to those who frequent our campus: “Leave your area cleaner than you found it.”
To attend Country Day, students enter a sort of social contract: to enjoy the benefits our school offers, we each must take action for the good of everyone.
High school chemistry teacher Victoria Conner said that the school is a community, and students are the stewards who should maintain and preserve it.
“Think of people other than yourself,” Conner said. “By cleaning up you’re helping everyone on campus.”
If students pick up after themselves, we can avoid unwanted outcomes. Not only does waste make the campus gross, but it also attracts vermin and creates unnecessary work for our cleaning staff.
It is important to remember that our small campus affords us liberties unimaginable elsewhere. Where else can students relax over ping-pong during breaks?
We shouldn’t ruin that by allowing drinks and forgotten meals to sit abandoned under lockers and on ledges.
It’s also important to remember that we are at school to learn. And to learn, we must preserve the learning environment we have.
“We spend like seven hours here every day, it just doesn’t make sense,” Pannu said.
Not only is a well-kept environment pleasant to the eye, it’s also conducive to learning and intellectual discovery.
So, when you leave your space, take care of the simple things: check your surroundings for leftover food or belongings, bring reusable water bottles and encourage others to do the same.
“It’s worse than it’s ever been,” Dias said. “But people just need to take a tiny bit more action and it will resolve itself.”
— By Staff
Originally published in the Oct. 25 edition of The Octagon