AUSTIN, Texas—Students and administrators at The University of Texas at Austin will come together at noon on Friday (Nov. 14) for an anti-litter campaign rally on the West Mall of campus.
President Larry R. Faulkner will be joined by Patricia Clubb, vice president for employee and campus services; Teresa Brett, dean of students; Sly Majid, vice president for Student Government; and student representatives from campus organizations for a West Mall litter clean up.
“‘Obliterate Our Litter Rate’ is simple,” said Rachel McGinity, Student Government representative and campaign organizer. “Less litter around campus will happen when there is a change in attitude about responsibility for the trash. No one wants our campus to be a mess and with very minimal effort, it can look so much better.”
“Each person, now more than ever, is responsible for taking care of his or her own trash since our mothers and custodial and landscaping staff aren’t around to pick up after us. The campus is ours. It should be something we can be proud of,” said student representative Hope Garcia.
The university reduced litter clean-up from daily to weekly in September as part of its effort to reduce costs. The impact to the campus was noticeable the first week with flyers, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, drinking cups and newspapers littering the high traffic areas such as the West Mall.
“With the budget cutbacks facing the university, this is an area where student participation can really have an effect,” said Abby Livingston, student organizer. “Couldn’t tuition and fees be put to better use than cleaning up after careless students?”
“As we went and made presentations across campus about the need for reduction in services, students came forward with ideas for how they might help,” said Dr. Steve Kraal, associate vice president for facilities management. “So we began collaborating with them on this campaign. Their initiative and level of commitment has been impressive. It means a lot to Physical Plant and its employees.”
“It started as a response to the budget reductions, but I think we’ve all come to realize we’re in need of a culture change where everyone takes pride in and responsibility for the condition of the campus grounds,” Clubb said.
President Faulkner will be picking up trash alongside students and staff at midday on Nov. 14 and encouraging participation in the students’ “Adopt an Acre” program.
In the Adopt an Acre program volunteers from student organizations maintain one of 40 designated areas of the university campus. Physical Plant supplies Adopt an Acre organizations with trash bags and instructions for litter clean-up. The program has already attracted several student organizations desiring to put in their community service hours at the university, as well as the interest of one of the university’s regents.
“Regent (Cyndi) Krier told me she wanted to support the initiative by donating $1,000 for us (Student Government) to use to reward student groups or individual students who participate,” said Brian Haley, president of Student Government. Volunteers for Adopt an Acre will also be eligible to participate in a drawing for airline tickets donated by corporate supporters of the initiative.
Student and staff booths with information about environmental and recycling programs on campus will be part of the ‘Obliterate Our Litter Rate’ rally. The booths will open at 10 a.m.
“An anti-litter campaign can only help illustrate the university’s serious litter problem,” said Linda Xie, director of the Campus Environmental Center and student organizer. “What is done in light of it is up to us.”