One man’s trash is everyone’s neglect


Shun Graves

Students must clean up, Ben Boas writes. He found plenty of trash near the Snack Shack in late January.

By Opinion Submissions

Ben Boas

As it turned out, I was not the only one trying to dodge the downpour as I sprint-walked to class in hopes of staying at least partially dry.

That’s when I looked down and cringed. A soggy bagel dog sat under the rain. I tried to keep sauntering toward the quad, but that disgusting image kept disturbing my pace.

As we move into the second month of the new year, I have a resolution that I hope all students at Branson will join me in: picking up after myself. I am referring to the loose Skittles wrapper or the empty Yerba Mate can. 

Some people may want to keep their bagel dogs out, but we all must dispose of them.

We students are given the privilege of having the Snack Shack on our campus, but we forget that the Snack Shack experience does not end once the snack is eaten. It ends when you have cleaned up any garbage from your purchase and dispose of it in the appropriate receptacle. 

Just last month, I ventured up to the Snack Shack. Shun Graves and I had bet that we could find 15 pieces of trash in five minutes. 

The bottle caps alone met that mark. 

We ended with a mound of trash, numbering almost 60 pieces. We found 17 bottle caps alone, making us realize how severely we underestimated the problem.  

Last year, the Student Senate decided to shut down the Snack Shack over trash. I do not think such top-down measures are productive. Although less trash in the short term is a good thing, we see that the problem returns as the Snack Shack reopens. 

In addition, more problems arise when the Snack Shack closes. The Parents Association loses a part of its budget. We close the Snack Shack to improve the trash situation, but it ultimately drains cash from events like pre-prom. 

We can’t close the Snack Shack again. But as a student body, we have few excuses for our behavior.

There are trash cans all over campus. Some are mere yards from the Snack Shack, making throwing one’s trash away easy and fast. 

We must also remember that the trash problem is not as bad as it could be because of the tireless work of the Branson maintenance staff. For each piece of trash on the ground, three have been picked up by staff. Our trash is not their responsibility, and to add more work to their plate is disrespectful and entitled. 

I sometimes also forget to throw my trash away. But mere accidents stand as no excuse for excessive waste. 

Simply, I hope each one of us as individuals can make an effort to be conscious about our waste, and to remember that we are not the only ones affected by our actions. With options like closing the Snack Shack being more hurtful than helpful, the onus falls on us. 

Can we step up? I hope so. 

Ben Boas is a senior.