Sunday morning I woke up like every other weekend morning. It was around 11, and I was slightly dehydrated, tired and hungry. I cleaned up a little and made the trek across campus with one of my roommates to grab breakfast at HoCo. On the way there I saw half-burned cigarettes, crushed beer cans, bottle caps, broken bottles, signs had been vandalized and there were puddles of, well, I do not want to know what they actually were. All of that was just in the hallway, stairwell and lobby in my Gables apartment.
Once I made it outside I saw that bushes had been trampled, benches and bike racks were overturned and more beer cans and empty cigarette cartons were littered everywhere. A-Lot looked like the aftermath of a war zone, only bottles, cans and trash replaced bullets and destruction. I know dozens of people had been tailgating in A-Lot; I saw most of them before and after the game on Saturday. Many of those tailgaters were older adults, but there were also many students mixed in. Is it that hard to throw a can away or place it in a recycling bin? Dozens of trash bags were completely full and left out in the parking lot. Is it that hard to put the trash bag in the back of your car?
When we finally made it through A-Lot, I saw that Main Street was not much better. The sidewalks were lined with cans and broken bottles. Meanwhile, there are trashcans and recycling bins at every bus stop along Main Street. I wonder how many people got arrested for an open container, because judging by the amount of cans along Main Street it looks as though at least a few people ditched their cans before finishing them.
Seeing all of the trash made me think of a few things. First, I cannot wait to see the next police log in the paper. Call me a jerk, but those are always fun to look over. Second, I thought of how lame some people can be when alcohol is involved. I get it, you are away at college and no one is here to tell you what to do, so you pound a few Keystone Lights and go on a rampage. Yeah, I remember my first beer too.
I then thought of the adults who were tailgating in A-Lot and left huge piles of trash. I know some of them were adults because I saw where they were and what they were drinking after the game. I get that most of them were probably old college buddies trying to relive the best days of their lives, but aren't adults supposed to be mature enough to clean up after themselves?
Lastly, there were the students who left a mess behind their trail. You are at college now and mommy is not here to pick up after you. I get that you never had to put your Legos away, but sometimes you need to learn when to grow up. There is a reason why every year our maintenance bill gets bigger, and at the end of the year our damages bill is so high. We have to pay for all those things and they quickly add up. Just because you do not clean up your mess doesn't mean that nobody has to clean it up. Someone does, and we all have to pay for it.
I know I was not the only person who was disgusted at the amount of garbage and damage that we awoke to on Sunday morning. When one of my roommates returned to school on Sunday he asked, "What happened to our campus… and our apartment tower?" The only response I could come up with was "Homecoming… at UNH."
Do not get me wrong, I am all for partying and having a good time. Tailgating is one of the best parts of being at a college campus, but with it comes some level of maturity and responsibility. I understand that what happened in A-Lot is a direct result of people tailgating for Homecoming, but the rest of the damage and garbage around campus happens pretty much every weekend of the year. Not every student who likes to party makes a mess; it is usually just a select few who make the rest of the partiers look bad. If you are out and one of your friends is being a moron, do not be afraid to say something. It will save you money, and it might just save them from an arrest.
Stay classy, not UMassy.