Cleanliness Compromised by Careless Behavior

Talia Pfeffer

Maintenance taff member Elida cleans up messy table filled with plates and cups after sixth period lunch in the Student Union. Photo by Talia Pfeffer.
Maintenance taff member Elida cleans up messy table filled with plates and cups after sixth period lunch in the Student Union. Photo by Talia Pfeffer.

When the lunch bell rings to signal the end of the period, students go to the restroom, their lockers, or straight to the next class. During that walk, mounds of dirty plates, cups, and utensils left on the tables in and around the cafeteria, messy bathrooms, and even clumps of hair and dust around the staircases are noticeable. Faculty, maintenance, and students are finding ways to reverse the this unsanitary cycle.

“I believe that part of it is carelessness. The bell rings, you are in conversation, you don’t want to be late to the next class. You get up and go without that internal voice there telling you that cleaning up is part of the routine. That is the other part of it. For many, that internal voice simply does not exist,” said English teacher Tyrone Sandaal.

Students often note certain bathrooms as “clean” and stay clear of the messier ones, but nothing is done by the students themselves to improve the condition of the facilities.  The restrooms are cleaned each night, but become messy as the day wears on.

“Some of the stalls in the bathrooms are left in a horrible condition. The girls seem to be careless, and never clean up after themselves; it’s awful,” said junior Ashlee Ruiz.

Luckily, administration, faculty, and students are taking steps to hold students accountable for the mess they leave behind.  Associate principal Buddy Bales has addressed these issues with students directly.

“Usually the students are pretty good about cleaning up after themselves, but there are groups of individuals who do indeed leave messes each day, and I take pictures of the remains,” said associate principal Buddy Bales.

The Environmental Club focuses on sustaining the planet and making the campus cleaner and greener. A new project, titled “Dream in Green” discuss monthly challenges that engage thinking, talking and learning about sustainability.  They took their clean initiative to students, having them sign a pledge to keep the campus clean.

“I care about the planet and I hate seeing how polluted the campus can be. I’m worried about how much of a mess is left, and I encourage everyone to recycle and clean up,” said Environmental Club member, senior Jaclyn Soria.

To add reality with a touch of humor, Sandaal and other members of the faculty placed paper signs on outdoor lunch tables “the nearest trash can is no more than five feet away.”

Hopefully the signs will encourage students to clean up after lunch.

Despite administrative consequences or clubs’ encouragement, this all comes back to the idea of overall nonchalance. Without students taking ownership of their own behavior, we will continue to see a messy aftermath after lunch or poor bathroom conditions. With parents, college representatives, and prospective families walking around campus, it is important to consider the aesthetics of our school.  As students, we need to take pride in our school.  How we maintain it, speaks volumes about us.