Going green starts here

It may be April, and the Earth month’s conservationist spirit may have been re-enforced by Art Wolfe, last week’s speaker, but the majority of the student body has failed to feel any force of the message.

And while a year’s installment of the Brown speaker series and the minefield of trash cans and recycling bins that dot Chalmers may not be enough to alert students to even the most basic of environmental issues, the administration should no longer feel an obligation to increase awareness. The remaining responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of students.

From larger issues like carbon footprints to even the most simplistic, such as littering, most students still act woefully unaware of green issues. The school has already supplemented its trash cans with recycling bins in the quad and in front of Seaver. However, whether due to ignorance or apathy, the blue boxes are never anywhere near as full as they should be. It’s actually become a fairly common sight to see school employees taking on the ideally-unnecessary job of sorting through trash cans and recycling bins. Maintenance actually is re-doing the job for the students, since they are so bad at recycling even when the ability is within arm’s reach.

On top of this is the shame that much of the bottles that should be filling up the recycling bins should never have to be used in the first place. It’s another problem that’s easy to fix, requiring very little forethought to bring a reusable bottle to school, which can be filled with water from the cafeteria’s soda machine for free if one doesn’t want to drink from the water fountains. Still, the students have ignored the simple fix and raised demand levels to the point that the cafeteria doesn’t have much of a choice other than to cave in and stock its cooler with shelves full of bottled water.

Both recycling issues still pale in comparison, though, to the sheer amount of litter carelessly dropped on the ground and left on the tables in the quad and student lounge. It seems no institution of a giant SQUID program can ultimately eradicate the most damning evidence of the student body’s arrogant attitude in regards to environmental issues.

The fact that students still believe that someone will always be there to clean up after their messes should scare everyone who wonders what will happen when the future world leaders that supposedly inhabit the school are brought face-to-face with the much more difficult task of literally saving the world down the road.

The problems with trash and recycling are not the only instances where the school has stepped forward to try to make a difference and seen their efforts ignored by students. Several years ago when the school expanded its busing services to make it easier for students to use school sponsored transportation, students still signed up to drive themselves in record numbers, still often forsaking carpooling in order to drive only themselves.

The school at this point can only throw up its hands and relent to the laziness of their students, and it would be hard for anyone to pin more than an ounce of blame on them. The administration has done more than its share to try and drag the student body into environmentally aware 21st century. Now the students must meet them halfway by taking advantage of the school’s offerings, beginning to clean up the world by cleaning up after themselves.