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Parking on Mount Trashmore

It’s the mess that won’t clean itself.

VSU prides itself on maintaining a clean and beautiful campus for its students to appreciate on a daily basis, and for the most part the school has succeeded.  But all bets are off once students enter the parking facilities at Oak and Sustella Street.

Most students who commute start and end their day on VSU’s campus in one of the two parking garages, or the large lot that lies between them. Opening your door and stepping on a crushed Big Mac box is not a great way to start your Monday morning.

It’s not just commuters that have to deal with this mess either. Students who live on campus regularly go to the decks to retrieve their cars and romp around town for a few hours or grab a bite to eat. These trips are actually the main cause of what one could call “food mountains” that constantly plague the Sustella parking deck.

I am a commuter. My first class each day of the week is in the UC, and after many fruitless attempts at finding a decent spot in the Oak Street lot at 10:30 in the morning , I have discovered that parking at Sustella and taking the bus is in fact much quicker, but the mess I encounter each morning is disheartening.

Trash cans that resemble garbage towers constructed from Styrofoam containers, stuffed fast food bags and even empty alcohol containers sometimes (which is an entirely different issue). It’s like students see these overflowing trash cans as a game of garbage Jenga where they win if they can get just one more cup to stay on top of the reeking tower.

The results, like Jenga, are always a disastrous mess that someone has to clean up, and judging by the piles of garbage that slowly accumulate, it’s not the student’s responsibility. That is something that I believe needs to be changed.

We should take pride in our campus and do our part to help maintain its beauty. Don’t treat the parking decks like our own personal landfill.

Leaving that Burger King bag in your car for the day while you attend class is not going to make your car smell like cheeseburgers indefinitely. If you see the trash cans spilling over onto the ground don’t make your own contribution, instead keep moving and drop it into one of the many trash cans that aren’t erupting with waste. It’s not going to kill you having to carry that empty bag or cup an extra hundred yards or so.

It’s not all on the students either. I know that the maintenance staff works very hard to keep our campus looking as pristine as possible, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to make an extra stop each week to Sustella to take care of the mess that seems to never slow down. If that’s not possible, then maybe more receptacles should be readily available and visible in the parking decks to avoid these stinky eyesores.

Every day I feel a sense of pride while walking around this magnificent campus, but that ends when I enter the decks. Parking decks are inherently function over form, but that function should be limited to housing our cars and not our messes.

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