Sunny with a Chance of Cynicism: Keep Oberlin Pretty

Libby Salemi

When I first came to Oberlin, I was under the impression that I would be considered normal and maybe even slightly conservative when thrown into a population of super bizarre, politically correct, environmentalist hippies. What became evident after talking to an RA about the impact that our energy and garbage waste has on the world, is that I am the super bizarre, politically correct, environmentalist hippie my brain never fathomed I could be. And since I’ve accepted this identity, I’ve also accepted the duties and anxieties that comealong with it.

On good days, you may see me running around the dorms turning off the light switches at timed intervals. On slightly more stressful days, I’m in a state of panic, practically pulling my hair out from the anxiety that the dripping faucets and shower heads are giving me. But as much as these little inefficiencies chip away at my armor, I can understand why students forget to turn off the lights or turn the faucets off all the way. Sometimes we forget. We’re all human; I do it, too. In a lot of the dorms, the faucets and showers are crap and I have to use all of my body’s strength to get them to turn off. It’s completely understandable that sometimes they’re left to drip for a little longer than they should. It’s totally OK. I’d prefer if it didn’t happen, but I can (kind of) let it slide.

What I can’t understand is why the hell there’s so much garbage on North Quad all the time this year. Every weekend there’s an entire 30-rack of Black Label beer cans scattered around the Wisdom Tree. People dump piles of cigarette butts on the ground for reasons that I can’t even imagine. Seriously, how do you even manage that? And there are always some nasty food items and wrappers just chilling out all throughout the week. Why? Why can’t we just pick our stuff up? Is it just laziness or do we actually not understand that garbage belongs in a garbage can? Because if the second one is the problem, I think I might have to transfer out of here.

My guess is that the cans and bottles are from underclassmen who don’t want to get caught drinking. This is understandable. But if you’re so worried about getting caught, then why are you drinking in a public space where pretty much everyone can see you? There’s absolutely no logic in that. Go drink in your rooms, children. You’re doing it wrong.

I take a lot of pride in going to a school with such a gorgeous campus, so it baffles me when people are so willing to dump their crap all over the quad. We’re super privileged in the sense that we live in a funky little town that gives us plenty of green space to run around in being idiotic. But, instead of being the fun and loveable kind of idiot, lately we’ve been abusing that privilege by being the kind that ruins every- thing for everyone else. If you leave garbage all over, you’re damaging the environment. If you’re leaving glass bottles all over, you’re probably damaging some Flying Horsecow’s feet.

It really doesn’t take that much effort to throw the wrapper from your DeCafé bagel in the trash bin 30 feet away from you, or take that PBR can to the recycling bin in East. No one will know it was you. Just ask any athlete that’s ever lived there. I understand that we’re all busy and tired, but if you go here you probably want to be an instigator of change; this is something really small and easy that you can do to be a good person or to at least keep someone (i.e., me) from their next panic attack. It’s not that difficult. Bottom line: pick up your shit and keep North Quad — and every other part of this campus, for that matter — pretty.