People should dispose butts properly

Rachel Paquette

Hi! I just got a new job working for Western’s Facilities Management. I get to design and tend flower beds. Bright patches of aesthetic bliss all for you. Wouldn’t you say that campus is a much prettier place because of its flowers, trees and grass patches?

Before I get to digging in the dirt I’m working down in recycling. I’ve also been equipped with a five-gallon bucket and an apparatus I fondly refer to as “my claw.” My claw and I go around campus picking up trash. I would imagine most people find this work demeaning, but I don’t really mind. I see it as getting paid to clean up the environment, and I also get to listen to good music while I’m at it. Yeah, I have it pretty easy.

I can’t help but notice as my bucket fills, that the majority of its content is the discarded cylinders of a nicotine fix. Oh, there’s other things too – chewed-up gum, fast-food wrappers and an occasional bottle or can. I haven’t really noticed many plastic bottles lying around. Maybe it’s because of all those public service announcements on the television telling people not to pollute.

What I do see though are cigarette butts. Everywhere. It’s like I’m at the beach and all those particles of sand are cigarette butts.

So I’m exaggerating – big deal. That’s not the point. The point is that my bucket is filled with these things and it’s gross. My second day on the job, claw and I decided to tackle the perimeter of Diddle Arena, starting with its parking lot. It’s my usual tendency to be thorough. I’ll reach out for every foreign object not native to the ground. Strangely, it wasn’t until my bucket was filling with butts that I realized how evasive these things are on campus. I never really noticed before that they are everywhere. And I do stress everywhere. It’s so disgusting, almost enough to make me want to quit smoking myself.

So I’m thinking about how really ugly it looks and how disrespectful it is for people to trash our campus. I mean, for most of us here, this is our communal space for at least four years. It is ours because we pay to go here. And don’t you hate it when people get into your space and make a mess of it?

Smokers of Western, this is your mess that I’m cleaning. Not that I mind. It’s your money that you spend on tuition that provides me with a paycheck. It’s money that could go towards better things. Like more cigarettes. Or your next tuition payment? But if you enjoy the luxury of being lazy that’s your deal. Maybe what we need are more ashtrays. Or maybe what you need is to have the consideration to use the ones we have.

Fellow students, pick up your butts and toss them in an ashtray. What you do is your business, but please, can you keep your cigarette butts out of the flowers?

Rachel Paquette is a junior mass communications and religious studies major from Bowling Green.

This commentary does not reflect the views of the Herald, Western or its administration.