So I try not to sound cynical on my little blog here but I had stadium cleanup yesterday and something about wading through soggy fries, water bottles, and half-drunk cups of soda just rubs me the wrong way. Actually, it makes me super pissed off. Look at this:
That is disgusting. Putrid. Vile. Foul. Horrendous. You can pick whatever adjective you like. And unluckily for us, extra pom poms were handed out and people ripped the streamers off of the handle to watch them fly in the wind. But guess who has to clean that three second moment of joy up. Club teams. And if you think that picking up a trillion tiny pieces of soggy plastic up for 6 hours on a windy day is easy or even remotely rewarding, you best sit down and think a little harder because it SUCKS. Stadium clean up is an awful experience. They say misery loves company, but this is definitely an exception to that rule. It doesn’t matter how many people are cleaning up, it is the worst six to seven hours of your life. The only reason that Club Gymnastics and plenty of other clubs do stadium clean up is because of money, and a decent amount of it.
But I’m not just complaining about the manual labor. It’s the fact that after a game, Beaver Stadium is submerged in people’s unwillingness to clean up after themselves. Then we have to clean it all up, just so it can return to the same, awful state next weekend. I would love to leave a section uncleaned until next game so people can see how truly disgusting it is. Of course, that would never happen.
Don’t get me wrong. Penn State is definitely dedicated to sustainability in a number of ways. Their recycling system around campus is pretty comprehensive in terms of what you don’t have to throw away. There are also a decent number of LEED Certified buildings on campus (including Stuckeman!). A 2014 article in the Daily Collegian talks about Penn State’s plan to transition into a zero-waste football operation. That sounds like quite a step up from their current waste generation per game of about 70 tons (Garrity). But as to what is actually recycled. I’m still not really sure (but it certainly seems like everything is shipped off to a landfill of course I COULD BE WRONG).
If you can’t tell, this sort of thing gets me fired up. It’s one thing for the school to take measures to put out a copious amount of recycling bins and build sustainable structures but its incredibly difficult to get people to actually care. The problem is, it takes thought to reduce your waste. You have to sort out your recycling. Not order more than you’re going to eat in the dining hall (I also have a rant about food waste but I guess I’ll save it for another time). You have to eat less beef (The livestock industry is a huge consumer of so many limited resources like water, energy, and land, not to mention the methane and other greenhouse gas pollutants emitted during production of both the meat and grain. But that’s also another rant for another day). This is getting super wordy, but it is important. I may not have any authority, but I want to sound like I can persuasively tell you that tons of trash generated by those 107,282 football enthusiasts every week is not ok. It sucks for the environment and it sucks for the people who have to clean it up. So the next time you attend your sporting event, please, please, PLEASE pick up your half eaten fries, open containers of ranch, ketchup packets, cups of soda, t-shirts, chicken fingers, pompoms, plastic bags, glass bottles, face stickers, already chewed gum, and make some sort of effort to recycle. Thanks.
This post has been brought to you be cynicism: it probably won’t work.
The one source that I cited, even though I thought I would never ever write something by my own volition that needed cited:
Garrity, Meghan. “For Beaver Stadium, a zero-waste future in the works.” Daily Collegian. 18 November 2014. Web. 21 September 2015.
*Disclaimer: This is my opinion and should be taken with an entire container of Morton’s. But what else would you expect from a post entitled “I Hate Football”.