Trash problem continues to plague campus

Jessica Rodrigues, Photography Editor

Each day the tables and ground are littered with trash after lunch as some students cannot be bothered with actually placing the garbage in the trash cans, not around them.
Each day the tables and ground are littered with trash after lunch as some students cannot be bothered with actually placing the garbage in the trash cans, not around them.

The school cafeteria is designed to be a place where students can enjoy a break from their studies and dine on a healthy meal. However, more often than not it has become a place filled with leftover trash that eventually extends all throughout the campus by the end of the day.

“I have been working here for about 12 years and it has been a continuous problem,” Campus Supervisor Becky Octave said. “There is trash everywhere, and I don’t know what to do about it.”

Multiple attempts have been made to find a solution to the growing trash issue including politely asking students to clean up, leaving the mess so students can see the effects and even banning students from eating in the cafeteria. Positive results are seen temporarily, but then the students revert back to their old ways.

“When we choose to not clean up on purpose we’re trying to show the kids the mess they’ve made and how extreme it gets when they don’t do their part,” Octave said.

Outside of the cafeteria, mainly in the quad, garbage is just as heavily abandoned and can be seen piled up as students leave to go to class.

“The kids just throw their trash on the ground,” campus supervisor Salvador Argumedo said. “They say, ‘It’s your job.’”

However, only four or five out of the 12 custodial and kitchen staff are assigned to clean up the entire cafeteria and outside eating area for 1,953 students.

“Mondays and Fridays seem to be when kids act up the worst both at breakfast and the two lunches,” Argumedo said. “Kids plan food fights and spill all over the floor.”

New lunch tables were installed a few years ago and the cafeteria was beautified to help improve students’ dining experience.

“You would think that the kids would take pride in their campus since they are the ones that have to learn there,” Octave said. “The young adults here should know how to clean up after themselves.”

There seems to be no one specific reason why students are not cleaning up after themselves or a reason as to why trash has increased so much this year. However, custodial staff has observed that it is the same groups of students that continue to leave garbage.

“None of the students wants to take responsibility for it either,” Argumedo said. “First lunch blames second lunch and second lunch somehow blames first lunch.”

Custodial observation reveals that upperclassmen and students that enjoy the supper at school do not seem to cause as much of a mess and appear to know how to clean up after themselves.

The cafeteria staff feels that the solution is simple and would not take much of the student’s time to make an effort in keeping their campus clean.

“All we need is for each student to pick up their own mess and throw it in the trash,” cafeteria worker Rosa Sotelo said. “Then there would be no issues, and the school would be clean.”

If students need more incentive, Octave has a proposal: “We would even throw a barbeque as a reward for the students if it meant that they would clean up their mess,” Octave said.